Sound Transit Board passes resolution answering remaining conditions for $500 million federal light rail grant
The Sound Transit Board today unanimously passed a resolution responding to the remaining conditions that, Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., has placed on his acceptance of the $500 million full funding grant agreement for the Central Link light rail initial segment.
"We are very pleased that Rep. Istook has lifted his objections and cleared a path for building this project," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Ron Sims. "Today we've taken a big step."
Of three conditions in Rep. Istook's Oct. 23 letter to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), two required Sound Transit Board action. The Board's resolution:
- Reconfirmed Sound Transit's ongoing commitment to subarea equity, the agency's operating framework under which tax revenues from each of its five geographic subareas are used solely for the benefit of that subarea. The local revenues for the Central Link project are being derived solely from the North King County and South King County subareas.
- Committed the agency to neither seek nor accept more than the current $500 million in federal grants from the FTA to construct the initial segment of Central Link light rail.
The third condition in the letter is related to real estate acquisition in Tukwila and did not require Board action. Sound Transit is confident that the agency can meet its schedule and is working with the FTA to ensure the terms of its FFGA grant contract place a high priority on right of way acquisition.
The Board's action underscored its longstanding commitment to subarea equity and put the whole board on record endorsing the content of a letter that Board leaders sent to the FTA responding to issues Rep. Istook raised about the project.
"We are very grateful to the Bush Administration and Congress, especially Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks," Sims said. "Once we receive the FFGA, we are ready to deliver a project that will play a key role in addressing the Puget Sound region's transportation needs while boosting our economy with an estimated 4,000 jobs."
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.