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In an unprecedented bipartisan appearance, Washington State's senior senator and the Bush Administration's senior transit official today personally delivered the first round of federal money for construction of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail system.


Senator Patty Murray - the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee - and Federal Transit Administrator Jennifer Dorn delivered a large symbolic check for $43.8 million to Sound Transit's immediate past Board Chair, King County Executive Ron Sims. This appropriation is part of the $75 million earmarked for Central Link in the 2004 federal budget.


"We're very pleased and honored that both Senator Murray and Administrator Dorn took the time to personally visit our future Operations and Maintenance facility to bring the first installment of federal construction money for this critical regional project," said Sims. "They were both key decision-makers during the federal full funding grant process last year."


"Senator Murray and Administrator Dorn stood by this project through some very difficult times because they knew it was the right thing to do for our congested Puget Sound Region," said Sound Transit Board Chair, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "Their dedication to bringing bipartisan solutions to our region's transportation crisis is a sign of true leadership."

"My thanks to Sen. Murray and Administrator Dorn for their strong support for a project that spells traffic relief for Seattle commuters," said Sound Transit Vice Chair, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.  "Together, we are getting the job done-- building a key piece of a 21st Century transportation network and bringing jobs, renewal and economic opportunity to our region."


The money will be used for final design ($15 m); construction on Pine Street ($1 m), E-3 busway ($5 m), Operations and maintenance Base ($3 m), Beacon Hill Tunnel ($4 m), Martin Luther King Way ($5 m); Right of Way acquisition ($7 m); and small amounts on third party agreements, vehicles and construction management.


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.