President Biden’s proposed FY 2023 budget would accelerate $516.6 million in previously expected funding
Earlier fulfillment of Lynnwood and Federal Way light rail grants would reduce borrowing costs by more than $40 million, supporting further expansions
Building on historic funding increases in the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress adopted this year, the Biden Administration’s proposed budget for FY 2023 would significantly expand funding levels for transit investments across the country—including providing $516.6 million for Sound Transit earlier than expected.
The accelerated funding would create more than $40 million in borrowing savings for regional taxpayers that can be applied to other voter-approved extensions to places like Tacoma, Everett, West Seattle, Ballard, South Kirkland and Issaquah.
"President Biden’s proposed 2023 funding represents a significant acceleration of support for Sound Transit’s work to build the most ambitious transit expansion program in the nation," said Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. "We thank President Biden, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez for this proposed boost for our region."
The proposed FY 2023 budget’s $716.6 million in total Sound Transit funding includes $318 million for the Federal Way Link Extension, which in a single year would complete the Federal Transit Administration’s multi-year grant for that project, three years sooner than previously committed. The proposed $250 million in funding for the Lynnwood Link Extension would position that project’s grant to be paid off at least three years sooner than the planned 2028 timeframe.
"Receiving federal grant commitments early helps us in multiple ways. Not only does it save our taxpayers money, it also frees up capacity in future years so the federal government can help us with our next generation of projects: extending light rail to Tacoma, West Seattle, Everett and Ballard," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.
Sound Transit will continue to work with the region’s congressional delegation to secure expanded federal support, which is critical for realizing the transformative infrastructure expansions approved by the region’s voters. In the next three years, Sound Transit will more than double the region’s light rail system from 26 miles to 62 miles. Later expansions are set to expand the light rail system to 116 miles while establishing new Stride bus rapid transit services along the north, east and south sides of Lake Washington and improve Sounder rail service.
Federal commitments so far for completing these expansions include nearly $2 billion in FTA grants for reaching Lynnwood and Federal Way, which this budget proposes to fulfill early, as well as the United States Department of Transportation’s largest-ever package of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans. The loans are creating more than $500 million in savings for regional taxpayers.