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Sound Transit now plans to open the University Link light-rail extension between January and March of 2016, six months earlier than previously scheduled, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced Friday.The $1.95 billion project, which previously was scheduled to open in September 2016, was made possible by more than $830 million in federal funding, including a $813 million full funding grant agreement that Murray helped secure."Every new light rail station helps commuters, businesses and local communities, but this station is particularly important because it will strengthen the connection between our entire region and one of our most cherished institutions, the University of Washington," said Murray in a prepared statement.Currently, University Link is 79 percent complete and running more than $100 million under budget. The mining phases that posed the biggest risks to the project schedule are completed. Contractors are installing rail in the twin tunnels and continuing construction at the two new stations on Capitol Hill and at the university, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.The UW Station is about 80 percent complete and the Capitol Hill Station is about 25 percent complete, they said.
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