Federal Transit Administration awards Sound Transit $2 million for Everett Link Transit-Oriented Development pilot
Grant allows for development of "model code" for consideration by jurisdictions along alignment
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded Sound Transit $2 million for development of a model code to facilitate transit-oriented development (TOD) along the Everett Link Extension by creating model policies and codes and expediting permitting. The grant applies to the planning phase of the extension project, and will help Sound Transit collaborate with the cities of Everett and Lynnwood and Snohomish County.
"As we continue to engage the community in planning for light rail service into Snohomish County, one of the highest priorities is ensuring we have maximized Transit Oriented Development opportunities, creating jobs and housing for all families within the area and across the Puget Sound region," said Sound Transit Board Member and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. "I want to thank our Congressional delegation, whose continuing support for transit in our region helped secure this grant."
"Everett, Lynwood and Snohomish County have pioneered collaborative planning and permitting for years in anticipation of Everett Link," said Paul Roberts, Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Everett City Council member. "This FTA grant is an exciting boost for these efforts."
In collaboration with Everett, Lynnwood, Snohomish County and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), Sound Transit will research case studies and model regulatory language for best practices for municipalities to prepare for coming light rail service. This would include policies and regulations to implement TOD, right-sized parking, form based and inclusionary zoning, design standards, multimodal transportation and effective economic development techniques.
Sound Transit and the jurisdictions will work collaboratively to determine which of these policies and regulations could be used to implement best practices, streamline the permitting process, and support regulatory consistency among jurisdictions. The model regulations could be useful for cities and counties throughout the country looking to expand TOD, build vibrant, transit-friendly communities and promote economic development.
In light of the financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Sound Transit Board has undertaken a process called realignment to determine which plans and timelines for voter-approved projects will need to change due to lower revenue projections, absent receiving alternative revenue. Next steps for the Everett Link project, including the work related to this grant, will follow the direction of the Board's realignment efforts.
Transit construction requires Sound Transit to purchase land for building stations, installing track, and for staging. When construction is finished and the project opens, the agency no longer needs some of this land. In May 2018, the Sound Transit Board officially recommitted the agency to facilitate TOD on this surplus property.
So far, over 1,300 housing units have been built or are planned for Sound Transit surplus property, with over 80 percent of them affordable to those earning 80 percent of area median income or below.