Senator Murray announces approval of $80 million in light rail funding

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U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D—Wash.) today announced approval of the FY 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which includes $80 million in funding for construction of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail and $4 million for the Sounder commuter rail program.

Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg praised Sen. Murray's tireless work for the region.

"This critical funding for keeping the Puget Sound region moving is the product of determination and commitment by Sen. Murray and other members of Washington's congressional delegation," Ladenburg said. "Once again they have made the federal process work for local residents by delivering support for projects that protect our quality of life and economy."

Sound Transit broke ground on Central Link in October 2003 and is making rapid progress toward the system's 2009 opening. Currently, four out of the five sections of the Central Link initial segment are currently under construction. The costs of contracts issued to date have come in 5 percent below Sound Transit's estimates.

"Sound Transit is making rapid progress toward completing Central Link and the rest of our regional network of light rail, commuter rail, express buses and capital projects," Ladenburg said.

The $80 million is the FY 2005 installment of the $500 million multi-year funding commitment for Central Link that Sound Transit received from the federal government. The $80 million is also included in the Bush Administration's FY 2005 Budget.  The Federal Transit Administration's 2003 award of the funding grant agreement (FFGA) followed a rigorous review by Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation. ­To date, Sound Transit has received $166 million of the FFGA. The additional $80 million will bring the total to almost half of the $500 million commitment.

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