3. System Access Fund

The System Access Fund will help fund improvements that make it easier and more convenient for people to get to Sound Transit and partner transit services. 

The $100 million System Access Fund (SAF) included in the 2016 voter-approved Sound Transit 3 (ST3) measure is allocated equally among Sound Transit's five subareas for projects such as safe sidewalks, protected bike lanes, shared use paths, improved bus-rail integration, and new pick-up and drop-off areas. 

Call for projects: Beginning February 19, cities, counties, and transit agencies can apply to Sound Transit for System Access Funds to help implement projects that improve connections to stations. Up to $10M will be available in each of Sound Transit’s five subareas. Sound Transit will allocate this round of System Access Funds to successful applicants between 2019 and 2025.

How will the System Access Fund 2019 Call for Projects Work?

  1. A city, county, or local transit agency will submit a screening form for potential projects by March 11, 2019.
  2. By March 18, 2019, Sound Transit will confirm the project meets eligibility requirements and can submit an application for System Access Funds.
  3. Applications for System Access Funds must be submitted by April 12, 2019. Sound Transit has developed a guidance document to support the completion of this application.

Following an evaluation by Sound Transit staff and an open public comment period, the Sound Transit Board will select projects to receive System Access Funds in mid-2019.

What types of projects are eligible for System Access Funds?

  • Capital projects that have advanced to the design/engineering or construction phase such as safe sidewalks, protected bike lanes, shared use paths, improved bus-rail integration and new pick-up and drop-off areas.
  • Certain non-capital projects such as, operating, technology and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) may be eligible.
  • Projects that demonstrate a clear nexus with a Sound Transit-served facility.

Who is eligible to apply for System Access Funds?

  • Cities and counties within the Sound Transit district as well as transit agencies serving the district are eligible to apply for the System Access Fund. Each jurisdiction or transit agency can submit up to two applications in this round. 
  • Applicants must show how ongoing operations and maintenance costs will be sustained once System Access Funds are expended.

How will Sound Transit evaluate projects requesting System Access Funds?

Sound Transit will evaluate applications based on how projects address the following policy and technical factors. For each factor, applications will be rated as high, medium or low.  Sound Transit will assign an overall rating of Highly Recommended, Recommended or Not Recommended for all applications.

  • Policy factors
    • Customer experience – How will the project make it easier and more convenient for riders to connect to stations?
    • Equity – Will the project improve connections for people who rely on transit?
    • Safety & Human Health – How will the project improve safety for riders and provide opportunities for active travel?
    • Connectivity – How will the project improve connections between the station and neighborhoods and activity centers (jobs, schools, community services, etc.)?
  • Technical factors
    • Funding plan – Does the applicant have all funding necessary to deliver the project or a realistic plan to do so?
    • Delivery plan – Does the applicant have a realistic plan to deliver the project by their proposed completion date?

Public comment: Following evaluation, Sound Transit will post all application materials received and their ratings and a public comment period will start. Sound Transit staff will review evaluated projects and public comments with the Executive Committee of the Sound Transit Board.  

Key Dates for the System Access Fund 2019 Call for Projects:

Sound Transit is currently evaluating the applications received and will update the key dates shown below by the end of June 2019.

Key Dates Activity
February 19 Call for projects
March 11 Screening forms due
March 18 Feedback from ST on screening forms
April 12 Applications due for projects determined to be eligible
April 15-June 30 Sound Transit conducts evaluation
TBD Sound Transit Board Executive Committee briefing on applications received
TBD Public comment period
TBD Sound Transit Board Executive Committee recommends projects to fund
TBD Sound Transit Board action to award initial round of System Access Funds