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Federal Transit Administration awards Sound Transit $4.8 million to procure buses for SR 522 BRT project

Grant will allow agency to buy up to five high-capacity transit buses

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The Federal Transit Administration has awarded Sound Transit $4.8 million to procure up to five high-capacity transit buses for the agency’s SR 522 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. The project, which will be known as the Stride 3 Line, will deliver new, expanded service for north Lake Washington communities. 

"Stride 3 will help relieve traffic congestion in the rapidly growing cities that it will serve," said Sound Transit Board Member and Kenmore Mayor David Baker. "In light of the financial impact of COVID-19 on Sound Transit, this grant is especially important now. We are grateful to the FTA and our congressional delegation for their ongoing support to improve transit in our region."

The grant comes from the FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program, which provides funding to states and transit agencies through a statutory formula to replace, rehabilitate and purchase buses and related equipment and to construct bus-related facilities. Sound Transit will provide a 20% local match for the grant. 

The BRT project was approved by voters in 2016 as part of the Sound Transit 3 measure. The SR 522 BRT project connects six cities with 13 stations: Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville.  The SR 522 BRT will connect to light rail service in Shoreline in allowing quick, easy access to jobs, education, healthcare and housing.  

BRT riders will be able to reliably travel from University of Washington Bothell to Shoreline South/145th light rail station in 22 minutes. During congested periods, the trip can take up to 45 minutes. BRT service will run every 10 minutes all day. 

BRT service differs from traditional bus service in that it makes fewer stops and travels longer distances, with faster loading and unloading as boarding is allowed via all three doors. The payment system enables riders to quickly board on all three doors. Enhancements such as raised boarding areas and display screens that show bus arrival times enhance user experience, while features such as transit signal priority and use of dedicated lanes for transit, HOVs, and business access increase both speed and reliability. BRT is tailored to meet the needs of commuters and those who need fast service traveling over long distances.

The anticipated date for when SR522 BRT service will begin is 2024/2025. The schedule is subject to change due to impacts from the COVID-19 recession and the ongoing Sound Transit Board realignment process.