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Sound Transit and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) late last week signed a $1.99 billion credit agreement to support four light-rail projects.The deal was reached under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), which provides credit assistance for qualified projects with "regional and national significance," according to USDOT's website.The TIFIA loans are expected to improve Sound Transit's long-term financial outlook and reduce risks associated with completing regional transit projects that voters approved this year and in 2008, agency officials said in a press release. In addition, Sound transit expects to save $200 million to $300 million through reduced borrowing costs.Of the nearly $2 billion in loans, $615.3 million will go toward the 4.3-mile Northgate Link extension, while $657.3 million will be set aside for the 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link route. Also, the 7.5-mile Federal Way Link extension will receive $629.5 million. The remaining $87.7 million will go toward building a new operations and maintenance facility, which will support light-rail trains traveling to Lynnwood, Bellevue, and Kent/Des Moines, Wash."Building a mass transit network that connects all corners of a growing region is a monumental task," said Sound Transit Chair Dow Constantine. "Our strong partnership with the [USDOT] stretches our transit dollars even further, helping us meet the demand for fast, reliable light rail and express bus service."
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