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FTA awards major grant, loan to Sound Transit for Federal Way Link light-rail extension

Sound Transit was awarded $790 million through FTA's Capital Investment Grant program.
Photo – Sound Transit


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced it has awarded Sound Transit a $790 million grant to extend the transit agency’s light-rail system 7.8 miles within King County, Washington, and approved Sound Transit for a $629.5 million loan.

The $790 million full funding grant agreement will help fund the agency’s Federal Way Link extension project, which will extend light rail from the existing Angle Lake Station in SeaTac through Des Moines, Kent and Federal Way in southern King County. 

The grant was awarded through FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, which provides funding for major transit projects nationwide. Projects accepted into the program must go through a multiyear, multistep process to be eligible for consideration to receive program funds, FTA officials said in a press release.

The FTA also approved Sound Transit for up to $629.5 million in U.S. Department of Transportation credit assistance through the Build America Bureau under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

The critical grant and the TIFIA loan, finalized last month, will support Sound Transit in launching construction of the light-rail extension early this year. In advance of the FFGA approval, Congress approved $100 million in fiscal-year 2019 CIG funding that represents the first installment of the grant. 

The $629.5 million TIFIA loan represents the fourth and final loan under Sound Transit's $1.99 billion TIFIA Master Credit Agreement which was signed with the Build America Bureau at the end of 2016. The agreement will save regional taxpayers between $200 and $300 million in borrowing costs over the life of our bonds, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.

"With the help of these federal grant and loan funds, within the next five years, our region will enjoy a true traffic-free reliable rail network between Federal Way, SeaTac Airport, downtown Seattle, Northgate, Lynnwood, Mercer Island Bellevue and Redmond," said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/23/2020