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Sound Transit will receive a $1.33 billion federal loan for the construction of the East Link Light-Rail Extension project, U.S. Transportation Anthony Foxx announced Friday.The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan will expand the Link system serving the Puget Sound region, and help Sound Transit implement a voter approved regional capital improvement plan, U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officials said in a press release."The East Link Project will give the people in Seattle area better access to jobs, education, and other opportunities," said Foxx. "This project will have a significant impact on the entire region and expand a world-class transit system."The 14.5-mile light rail extension, one element of a 50-mile system, will connect some of the region's most populated and fastest-growing areas to Sound Transit's existing rail system at the International District/Chinatown Station, which runs from downtown Seattle to SeaTac Airport.In addition to the TIFIA loan, the USDOT is contributing $74.7 million in Federal Transit Administration funds and $14 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery V funds toward the $4 billion East Link project. Construction is slated to begin later this year, with a targeted opening date of 2023.It's anticipated the new line will serve about 50,000 riders by 2030.
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