Sound Transit formally requests federal funding for initial segment of Link light rail

Publish Date

Sound Transit has submitted its application to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a $500 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA). The agreement would provide federal funds for the construction of the initial segment of Sound Transit's Central Link light rail system.

"This is an important step forward for Sound Transit," said agency Board chair Ron Sims. "Puget Sound residents paid taxes to the federal government, and we are now going to bring those dollars home and put them to work for commuters." Sound Transit Executive Director Joni Earl added, "With our New Starts "Recommended" rating, the recent federal approval of our environmental assessment and issuance of the "Record of Decision," we've cleared the major hurdles for requesting the federal funds to build light rail. The federal funding is important because it will really defray the project costs for local residents."

Federal funds will make up about one-quarter of the capital costs for the initial light rail segment, with local revenues covering the remaining three quarters.

The $500 million would include $91 million already awarded to Sound Transit, including $50 million held in abeyance last year. The grant application will be reviewed by the regional office before being forwarded to FTA headquarters in Washington, D.C. After it clears the FTA, the application will be reviewed by the Secretary of Transportation, the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Congress . Sound Transit hopes to have the grant approved prior to the end of this year.

Still pending at FTA are final design approval on specific elements of the Initial Segment and a Letter of No Prejudice on the demolition and site preparation at the Link Maintenance Base. These approvals are expected this month.

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