Federal Transit Administration executes $1.17 billion grant and $658 million loan for Lynnwood light rail
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has executed a $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link light rail extension.
“With this extraordinary federal support, the Lynnwood Link project will provide a light rail connection between North Central Puget Sound and major destinations like Northgate, the University of Washington, Downtown, and Sea-Tac Airport,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.
“This is great news for everyone in the Puget Sound region who wants to see more commuting options and our freeway congestion eased,” said Dave Somers, Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive. “Lynnwood Link is the first major investment in light rail for Snohomish County, and we appreciate the hard work of our congressional delegation and the Federal Transit Administration. Sound Transit has an ambitious plan to deliver for the people of our region, and Lynnwood Link is a key part of that plan.”
“Thousands more commuters will escape congestion thanks to the administration’s support, which culminates long and hard work by our congressional delegation and advocates across the region,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Securing this highly competitive grant also reflect the federal government’s confidence in Sound Transit’s capabilities and track record. We are ready to get the job done.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau on December 19 also executed a $658 million low-interest loan supporting the Lynnwood light rail extension. The loan stems from Sound Transit’s 2016 success in becoming the first transportation agency in the country to enter into a master credit agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation that will provide $2 billion in low-interest loans spanning four projects. The loans, enabled by the USDOT’s Build America Bureau and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), are cumulatively forecasted to save regional taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million through lower interest costs.
Under the FFGA, the FTA commits to provide up to $1.17 billion (36% of the total estimated cost) subject to annual Congressional appropriation. In return, Sound Transit commits to completing the project on time, within budget, and in compliance with all applicable Federal requirements.
Execution of the grant allows Sound Transit to initially draw upon $200 million in past appropriations toward the $1.17 billion. In advance of the FFGA approval, Congress approved $100 million in FY 2018 Capital Investment Grant funding for the Lynnwood Link light rail extension and $100 million in FY 2017 funding.
Trains on the 8.5-mile light rail extension from Northgate to the Lynnwood Transit will serve four stations along the route at Northeast 145th Street, Northeast 185th Street, the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center at 236th Street Southwest, and the Lynnwood Transit Center at 48th Avenue West. Demolition and utility relocation work is scheduled to begin early next year, followed by major construction activities beginning in spring 2019.
Lynnwood Link light rail service is scheduled to begin in July 2024. Trains are planned to operate every four minutes during weekday peak hours, every five minutes during off-peak and evening hours on weekdays and every five minutes on weekends. Commuters from the Lynnwood Transit Center will enjoy 13-minute rides to Northgate Mall, 18-minute rides to the University District, 27-minute rides to downtown Seattle and 60-minute rides to Sea-Tac Airport. Trains from Lynnwood will also serve the eastside and reach downtown Bellevue in 51 minutes and the Overlake Transit Center in 59 minutes from the Lynnwood Transit Center.
More information on the Lynnwood Link Extension is available at soundtransit.org/Lynnwoodextension.