U.S. Rep. Jayapal tours Northgate light rail progress, emphasizes importance of Lynnwood Link federal funding

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Agency is working to secure critical $1.17 billion federal grant for Lynnwood Link

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal today toured Sound Transit’s on-schedule and on-budget construction of light rail to Northgate, joining agency CEO Peter Rogoff in emphasizing the importance of federal funding to reaching Lynnwood and other cities around the region.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Congresswoman Jayapal, Congressman Rick Larsen, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell and other members of our congressional delegation toward maintaining critical federal transit funding, and particularly the $1.17 billion grant for starting Lynnwood construction next year,” Rogoff said.

“Federal funding for Link light rail is critically important to connecting our communities and strengthening our economy,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Our region is doing its part to fund the growth of our mass transit system. But without strong federal partnership, project timelines will be thrown off and residents will continue to struggle with congestion. I will do everything I can to ensure that the Federal Transit Administration follows through on funding the Lynnwood Link so that we can deliver the high-quality transit our region needs without harmful delays.”

Sound Transit is in the final stage of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) process for securing the $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for Lynnwood under the Capital Investment Grant Program, also known as the New Starts program. Engineering approval by the FTA last year enabled the agency to move forward with final design work on the extension, gave the project its second-highest possible rating in the competitive grant process and committed $1.17 billion in federal funding for the project. 

Congress, with the help of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and other members of the region’s congressional delegation, approved the first installment of that funding of $100 million in FY17. The agency is now looking to Congress approve the second installment of $100 million in FY18.

The $1.174 billion FFGA was scheduled to be executed in 2018. However, the current Administration has proposed zeroing out funding for future FFGAs , including the agreement for Lynnwood Link. 

“Our region’s voters stepped up and voted to tax themselves to provide a path out of crippling congestion. For that they should be rewarded at the federal level, not punished,” Rogoff said. 

In addition to FFGA funding for the Lynnwood light rail project approved by voters in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure, the $53.8 billion Sound Transit 3 measure passed by voters last fall assumes $4.7 billion in federal funding over the next 25 years. If the federal funding assumption is not met Sound Transit likely will not be able to meet the project timelines in our measure. Local taxpayers have a reasonable expectation to benefit from their federal tax dollars, particularly those that provide critical transportation infrastructure.

The Northgate light rail station that Rep. Jayapal toured today, along with stations serving the University District and Roosevelt, are on schedule to open in 2021. Tunnels between the University of Washington Station and a portal just south of Northgate are now complete, and work is moving forward on all three stations. 

Continuing north from Northgate, the 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link Extension will run along the I-5 corridor with four new stations including Shoreline South/145th, Shoreline North/185th, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood City Center. New parking structures at 145th, 185th, and Lynnwood Transit Center will add approximately 1,500 park and ride spaces in the corridor as part of the project. The project will facilitate the scheduled 2031 addition of a station at Northeast 130th Street that was funded in ST3.

An aerial animation of the Lynnwood Link alignment is available. Images of the elevated Northgate station and guideway are available on the project website

By 2024, light rail commuters traveling north from Northgate Mall will serve the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Shoreline before reaching the Lynnwood Transit Center in 13 minutes. Snohomish County riders will enjoy 18-minute rides to the U District, 26-minute rides to downtown Seattle. Further light rail extensions will reach Federal Way, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, West Seattle, Ballard, South Kirkland and Issaquah.

Today’s tour was carried out in partnership with Absher Construction Company, the general contractor for the station. Granite Construction Company, a subcontractor to Absher, is building the guideway, and Construction Management is being handled by North Star, a joint venture between Jacobs Engineering and CH2M. Design and engineering is by McMillen Jacobs Associates.