Spending bill’s $586 million for Sound Transit accelerates payment of previous federal commitments, provides more than $115 million in new funds
Region’s congressional leaders secure critical funding for transit expansion
The passage of Congress’ FY 2023 spending bill will provide $586.5 million in funding for Sound Transit—including earlier-than-expected payments toward previously executed federal grant agreements and more than $115 million in new funding.
"This bill significantly expands funding for completing the largest transit expansion program in the nation," said Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. "It not only provides accelerated funding of the Full Funding Grant Agreements for Lynnwood Link and Federal Way Link but also provides more than $115 million in new funding for those projects through a provision similar to Senator Murray’s Public Transit Capital Investment Relief Act of 2021, which was co-sponsored by Senator Cantwell."
The bill, which will be signed into law in the coming days by President Biden, provides a total of $468 million to fund Sound Transit’s two Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs):
- The Federal Way Link FFGA will receive $268 million, which finishes the federal commitment of $790 million three years ahead of schedule
- The Lynnwood Link FFGA will receive $200 million, leaving only $250 million remaining to fulfill the $1.17 billion agreement.
The accelerated payments will reduce agency borrowing, creating more than $40 million in savings for regional taxpayers.
The bill also includes a provision that will provide an additional $115.5 million for those two projects: $54 million for Lynnwood and $61 million for Federal Way. These funds are on top of the FFGA commitments for those projects.
Additionally, Sound Transit will receive $3 million for safety and security improvements to the stations in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, through Congressionally Directed Spending sponsored by Rep. Jayapal and Senator Murray.
Sound Transit’s financial plan assumes 19.5% of the capital program will come from federal sources, and these funds are critical to helping meet that target.
"As Sound Transit forges ahead with the nation's most ambitious transit expansion program, we are exceptionally fortunate to have the strong support of every member of our Congressional delegation, including Senators Murray and Cantwell, along with Representatives DelBene, Jayapal, Kilmer, Larsen, Schrier, Smith, and Strickland," said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who will chair the Sound Transit Board starting January 1. "Together, we will build and operate the infrastructure to protect our planet while helping millions of Puget Sound residents thrive."
"This investment by the federal government comes at a crucial time for Sound Transit, as we enter a period of unprecedented expansion north, south and east," said Snohomish County Executive and Sound Transit Board Vice Chair Dave Somers. "Our expansions will not only enhance the region’s mobility, economy and environment, but also help train and employ the next-generation labor force and connect workers to jobs. Coming on top of this year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this spending bill marks an exceptional year for federal investments in transit for the Puget Sound region, and I look forward to continuing progress on Lynnwood and Everett Link."
In the next several years, Sound Transit will more than double the region’s light rail system from 26 miles to 62 miles. Later expansions are set to expand the light rail system to 116 miles while establishing new Stride bus rapid transit services along the north, east and south sides of Lake Washington and improving Sounder commuter rail service.