Sound Transit receives $10 million TIGER grant for South 200th street light rail extension project

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Funding supports extending light rail service south from Sea-Tac Airport, to open with University Link in 2016

The U.S Department of Transportation has awarded $10 million in TIGER funding to Sound Transit in support of constructing an extension of Link light rail from Sea-Tac Airport to South 200th Street. The 1.6-mile project, which includes an elevated guideway, station, and parking facilities, is planned to open in September, 2016-four years earlier than envisioned in the voter-approved Sound Transit 2 plan, and at the same time light rail service to the University of Washington will begin.

"This is great news for local commuters, communities, and the economy throughout Seattle," said Sen. Patty Murray. "I was proud to create the TIGER program to fund investments like this one for Sound Transit that put people to work, boost the local economy, and lay down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth."

Earlier this year, the Sound Transit board approved an accelerated schedule for construction and operation of the South 200th Street light rail extension based on the project's state of readiness to move forward with final design and construction, its potential to increase ridership, and its provision of up to 1,100 parking spaces concurrent with the opening of University Link. The agency plans to utilize a design-build delivery method for the South 200th extension.

"This project gives South King County great benefits. It provides people mobility to get to and from jobs, helps protect the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, and provides huge opportunities for economic development around the station area," said Sound Transit Board and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. "That is why our TIGER grant application was backed by such a broad spectrum of the community, including residents, business groups, environmental organizations, and labor. I offer my congratulations to all our partners in this effort."

USDOT received 828 applications totaling $14.1 billion for Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery, known as TIGER, discretionary grant funding, far exceeding the $527 million set aside for the program. Sound Transit was one of two agencies in the state of Washington to receive funding.

Sound Transit has secured $26.5 million in competitive grants for the $383.2 million (year-of-expenditure dollars) project to-date. The agency plans to continue to pursue as much as $13.5 million in additional grant funding.

"Sound Transit would like to thank Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for their leadership in facilitating a successful grant application, and the nearly 200 community, labor and elected leaders for their exceptional support," said Aaron Reardon, Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive. "The Sound Transit board committed to accelerating the construction of the South 200th project in order to deliver service south of the airport as early as possible. This newest grant will not only support the creation of nearly 2,600 jobs, but also enable our agency to stay the course on an aggressive schedule in order to bring Link light rail service to thousands of south King County residents every day."

The South 200th elevated guideway and station will offer passenger platforms with covered waiting areas, connections to local and rapid ride bus services, dedicated areas for passenger pickup and drop off, and vanpool parking. Secured bicycle storage, street improvements to accommodate traffic circulation, bicycle and pedestrian access, landscaping and public art are also elements of the project.