Sound Transit breaks ground on Lynnwood Link Extension

Extension of light rail to Snohomish County will offer much-needed relief from traffic congestion

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Sound Transit and its partners today celebrated the start of construction of the 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link Extension, which will extend light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood City Center. 

Upon opening in 2024 riders will enjoy fast, frequent and reliable service between south Snohomish County and the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, the Eastside, Sea-Tac Airport and more. The extension includes four new stations serving Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and Seattle. 

The long-awaited extension of light rail to Snohomish County is due to tireless collaboration with Sound Transit's local governments as well as critical federal and state support. Speakers at today's groundbreaking ceremony at Lynnwood Transit Center included U.S. Senator Patty Murray; U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen; U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene; State Rep. Jake Fey, chair of the House Transportation Committee; Sound Transit Board member and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers; Sound Transit Board member and King County Executive Dow Constantine; Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts;, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith; Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region 10 Administrator Linda Gehrke; Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath; Executive Secretary of the Snohomish County Building Trades Todd Taylor; and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.

"Today's groundbreaking is a historic step for Sound Transit, the City of Lynnwood and Snohomish County — as well as countless commuters, families, and travelers. The Lynnwood Link Extension project will lay the tracks to extend light rail into Snohomish County and build out a modern infrastructure system in Puget Sound and throughout our state, for families and communities today and beyond," said U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "I've been proud to stand with my colleagues in Congress and with partners from state and local governments and agencies to help ensure that the federal government would do its part, and I will keep pushing to see this project across the finish line and fighting to strengthen federal investments that will help increase transportation options across the region."

"With some rush-hour commutes reaching over an hour, everyone in Puget Sound knows how important transportation infrastructure is to our region," said Sen. Maria Cantwell. "That's why I urged Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to invest $1.2 billion of federal funding in this light rail expansion. The project will build Snohomish County's first light rail stations, construct more than 8 miles of new light rail, add 1,500 parking stalls, and connect North Sound riders to downtown Seattle, Sea-Tac Airport and beyond."

"I'm proud of the state and regional partnership that helped make this new light extension into Snohomish County a reality," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "Throughout the state, we are working to deliver transportation choices that provide traffic relief, jobs and clean air. On behalf of 7.5 million Washingtonians, I congratulate Sound Transit on this important milestone for our region and our state."

"Of the $9 billion in funding commitments invested by the Trump Administration to support the nation's transit infrastructure since January 20, 2017, this $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement is the largest. This investment in the Lynnwood Link project will improve mobility for thousands of people in the Puget Sound region," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.

"You cannot have a big-league economy with little league infrastructure," said Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02). "Sound Transit Light Rail is coming to Snohomish County, and that means more jobs and more opportunity. The Lynnwood Link Extension will help with traffic congestion and provide a reliable commuting option for an additional 47,000 to 55,000 daily riders who are traveling to work, school and home."

"The new Lynnwood Link extensions will be an important addition to the Seattle area's existing light rail system," said Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01). "Light rail public transit is more environmentally friendly than most transportation options, and increasing access to this system is a critical step in modernizing Washington's infrastructure. These extensions will also aid in reducing I-5 congestion by taking almost 100 million vehicle miles off the corridor annually. I look forward to the benefits Washingtonians and local businesses will experience from the nearly 40 miles of fast, reliable, and affordable transportation."

"The expansion of Link light rail will be transformative for Snohomish County and the region," said Dave Somers, Snohomish County Executive and Sound Transit Board member. "Too many of our residents are stuck in traffic for far too long every day. Giving them additional options to avoid driving on the freeways — including light rail, bus rapid transit and heavy rail — will improve their quality of life and our region's environmental health."

"Bringing light rail to Snohomish County will improve the everyday lives of thousands of commuters," said Paul Roberts, Everett City Council member and vice chair of the Sound Transit Board. "This project also paves the way for light rail to extend all the way to Everett, which is something we are all looking forward to."

"The start of work on the Lynnwood Link Extension is the result of a cooperative effort by the legislature to grant Sound Transit the authority to continue to build out light rail," said Washington State Rep. Jake Fey, vice chair of the House Transportation Committee. "It's great to see the progress Sound Transit is making to improve transit throughout the entire region, from north to south." 

"Today's groundbreaking is the culmination of more than a decade of planning and preparation," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "From the beginning, this project has received enthusiastic support from the federal, state and local governments, our congressional delegation, the business and labor communities, and voters — a sign of the hunger for relief from the horrendous highway congestion facing travelers every day. This project will be a game changer for Snohomish County commuters. And in the years to come, we will be extending Link from Lynnwood all the way to Everett."

Stacy & Witbeck/Kiewit/Hoffman JV and Skanska L300 JV is doing the construction on the extension. The $2.9 billion project budget includes up to $1.17 billion from a Full Funding Grant Agreement executed by the FTA. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau executed a $658 million low-interest loan supporting the Lynnwood light rail extension. That loan was one of four loans captured in a Master Credit Agreement reached between Sound Transit and the USDOT at the end of 2016. The one-of-its-kind agreement should save regional taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million through lower interest costs. 

Lynnwood Link light rail service is scheduled to begin in 2024. Sound Transit plans trains to operate every four to six minutes during weekday peak hours. Commuters from the Lynnwood Transit Center will enjoy 20-minute rides to the University of Washington, 27-minute rides to downtown Seattle and 60-minute rides to Sea-Tac Airport. Trains from Lynnwood will also serve the Eastside and reach downtown Bellevue in 51 minutes. Sound Transit projects ridership to reach between 47,000 and 55,000 daily riders by 2026.

More information on the Lynnwood Link Extension is available at www.soundtransit.org/lle.