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Sound Transit to receive major federal grant, loan for light-rail extension

Recent federal actions will enable Sound Transit to begin construction on the Federal Way light-rail extension in early 2020.
Photo – Sound Transit


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has revealed its intent to award a $790 million grant and $629 million low-interest loan to Sound Transit to enable the start of construction on the Federal Way Link light-rail extension, Sound Transit officials said yesterday.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) late last week transmitted the $790 million full funding grant agreement (FFGA) to Congress, starting a 30-day notification period. The action means that the FTA intends to execute the grant after the 30 days expires, Sound Transit officials said in a press release.

The USDOT also notified Congress of its intent to close a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the project. The loan represents the fourth and final loan under Sound Transit’s $1.99 billion TIFIA Master Credit Agreement, which the agency signed with USDOT's Build America Bureau at the end of 2016.

In advance of the FFGA approval, Congress also approved $100 million in fiscal-year 2019 Capital Investment Grant (CIG) funding that will represent the first installment of the grant. The CIG program provides funding for major transit projects, such as new light- and commuter-rail systems.

The federal actions will enable what Sound Transit officials describe as a "critical project" to enter construction in early 2020.

"Securing this federal funding enables us to fulfill our promise of delivering regional light rail to the residents of South King County," said Sound Transit Chairman John Marchione. "The tireless advocacy of our congressional delegation was instrumental in completing this vital step to transform people's commutes and build a more prosperous future for the region."

The Federal Way Link Extension would extend the Link light-rail line 7.8-miles from Angel Lake Station in SeaTac, Washington, to the Federal Way Transit Center bus station in Federal Way by 2024. The project includes building three stations and adding 3,200 parking spaces along the route. 

Demolition and utility relocation work began this fall. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/17/2019