Sound Transit breaks ground on Federal Way Link Extension
Light rail extension to South King County will bring congestion relief as well as path for more transit to Pierce County
Sound Transit staff and Board members, elected officials and community partners celebrated the start of construction on the 7.8-mile Federal Way Link Extension with the debut of a new video. Federal Way Link will extend light rail from Angle Lake Station in SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center. With King County currently under COVID-19 health guidelines, a traditional in-person groundbreaking event could not take place.
Opening in 2024, the route to Federal Way will offer fast, frequent and reliable service between South King County and Sea-Tac Airport, downtown Seattle, the University of Washington, Northgate, Lynnwood and Bellevue. The extension includes three new stations serving Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.
"The Federal Way Link Extension is such a critical project for so many in the Puget Sound region and across our state. This project will help reduce traffic and commute times, lower emissions and invigorate economies," said Sen. Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "While we’re all still working to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, this project reinforces how much we can accomplish when both Washingtons work together."
"The Federal Way Link Extension is going to be game-changer for South King County and communities surrounding it. It will help meet increasing demands for public transportation," said Sen. Maria Cantwell. "This extension is expected to serve as many as 34,000 daily riders by the year 2026. That means easier commutes and less congestion for so many people in and around South King County and a better experience."
"Today marks a very important step in the process of bringing Sound Transit to the entire Puget Sound region - the groundbreaking for the Federal Way Link Extension project," said Rep. Adam Smith. "The project will support continued economic development, provide job opportunities and improve regional mobility across the Puget Sound. This is a huge step forward for South King County. I want to thank all the local leaders who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition so we can provide this vital service to the people of South King County."
"An investment in infrastructure in an investment in great jobs in our region. Today’s groundbreaking for the Federal Way Link Extension is a big day for this critical project and an exciting day for commuters in the South Sound," said Rep. Derek Kilmer. "This project represents a huge step for progress, a step closer to connecting Tacoma, and a way to cut down on traffic and provide new affordable transit options to help our workers, our students and our families."
"South Sound commuters will soon have a quicker, cleaner and healthier transportation option," said Governor Jay Inslee. "The three new stations between Angle Lake and the Federal Way Transit Center will give more students a chance to attend Highline College, bring shoppers to local businesses and create jobs for decades to come."
"I’m really excited about Federal Way Link Extension opening because it’s the very next step to getting to Pierce County," said University Place Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. "Once we get to Pierce County, that’s going to open up a lot of opportunities for the citizens and communities of this county. It’s a great first step, and I’m excited to see it."
"The Federal Way Link Extension is breaking ground because local, state and federal leaders work well with Sound Transit. As the economy begins to rebound, this link is critical to connecting South King County with a 116-mile regional light rail system," said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Boardmember Pete von Reichbauer.
"Federal Way Link is a key piece of the puzzle in expanding our regional light rail network. This investment has been a long time coming, and I’m excited we have reached the start of construction," said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Vice Chair Dow Constantine. "In a few short years light rail will provide another option for South King County residents, and then it’s on to Tacoma and a truly regional system."
"I can’t understate how excited I am about the Federal Way Link Extension and how important this project is to our community," said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Boardmember Dave Upthegrove. "This will provide economic opportunity and transportation connections for a part of King County that needs it the most."
"The Federal Way Link Extension is going to be the catalyst that brings together many years of planning for the Midway area and Kent’s West Hill as a whole," said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph. "Light rail is going to better connect our region and will provide Kent residents access to jobs, educational institutions, opportunities and fun things like entertainment and sporting venues. This development will be a huge benefit to our residents and the entire region and I am excited it is coming to Kent."
"The Federal Way Link Extension shows an investment in jobs, a focus on tourism as well as greater connectivity to the entire region, not only for Federal Way residents, but for anyone passing through our city. This project represents progress for the entire region," said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.
"The Federal Way Link Extension will mean so much to our students and community," said Highline College President John Mosby. "Light rail will continue to make access to higher education within their reach and give them the ability to transform their lives right here in the South Sound."
"Building the Federal Way Link Extension is really about building a prosperous economy," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "By 2024, you will be able to travel by light rail from Federal Way, Kent and Des Moines up to Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Shoreline and Lynnwood. We are now just a few years away from the true rail network that the region has needed for a very long time."
The $3.1 billion light rail project includes a $790 million Capital Investment Grant from the Federal Transit Administration and a $629.5 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
By 2021, Sound Transit will expand light rail to the University District, Roosevelt and Northgate. In 2022, Tacoma Link will expand to the Hilltop neighborhood. In 2023, trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue and the Overlake area. In addition to the Federal Way Link Extension, 2024 will bring the opening of extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Downtown Redmond.
More information on the Federal Way Link Extension is available at soundtransit.org/fwlink.
Video Link: https://vimeo.com/438341470