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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has submitted a Full Funding Grant Agreement for Sound Transit's $3.2 billion Lynnwood Link light-rail extension, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced yesterday.The submission kicks off a 30-day review period by Congress, which will be the last step before the FTA can formally sign and execute the agreement, according to a press release issued by Murray's office.The agreement will provide a $1.2 billion commitment from the federal government to fund the project. It also will allow Sound Transit to begin using $200 million of federal funding that Congress already allocated through the FTA's Capital Investment Grants program, according to Murray's release.With the federal funding commitment in place, Sound Transit is set to launch construction on the 8.5-mile project early next year, said Peter Rogoff, the agency's chief executive officer. The extension will connect King and Snohomish counties, Washington."Lynnwood Link will offer congestion-free travel to thousands of riders who currently experience some of the most brutal commutes in the nation," Rogoff said.Sound Transit applied for the federal funding in late 2017. The project's costs have grown from $2.4 billion to as much as $3.2 billion due to increasing costs of land and construction in Seattle, The Seattle Times reported.Meanwhile, Sound Transit yesterday began construction on the 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link streetcar extension.The $217 million project calls for extending the existing rail line from the Theatre District in downtown Tacoma, Washington, to the city's Stadium District and Hilltop neighborhoods.The extension is being partially funded with a $75 million Small Starts grant from the FTA."Extending Tacoma Link to the Hilltop District will connect additional neighborhoods with employment centers like downtown Tacoma and the Medical Mile," said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams. "The [FTA's] commitment to this project recognizes the strong financial support of the city of Tacoma and the local community allowing for a balanced federal share."Sound Transit in July chose Walsh Construction Co. II LLC to build the project.
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