U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen visited the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center Monday to receive an update on construction of Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension project.
Over the past two months, Larsen — who represents Washington’s 2nd District that includes Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace — has toured county transportation projects in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties as well as projects in Bellingham, Arlington, Marysville and Camano Island.
“I’ve been doing a pretty extensive transportation tour throughout the district, meeting with local governments and looking at what they need and their transportation needs,” he said.
City of Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith — who serves as a director on both the Community Transit and Sound Transit Boards — also attended the tour. The two also visited the future site of Terrace Station — a private development south of the transit center consisting of three mixed-use buildings.
Link light rail is an 8.5-mile, four-station extension project that will connect Northgate to Lynnwood’s City Center district and take riders from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle in 28 minutes. The extension will include stops at Shoreline South/145th, Shoreline North/185th and Mountlake Terrace. Trains are scheduled to begin service in 2024.
The project has a budget of $2.9 billion. Last year, Sound Transit secured $1.2 billion in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration. The project is also supported by a $658 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau.
Larsen, who serves as a senior member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has been an advocate for federal investment to develop vital transportation projects throughout Washington state, including the Lynnwood Link project. He recently supported legislation to invest nearly $7 billion over the next five years into Washington’s transportation network. Through the bureau and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, Larsen said the loans are projected to save the region’s taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million in interest.
“It’s a good partnership between the federal, state and local governments to make this project happen,” Larsen said.
Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said the Lynnwood Link project is currently 18% complete. He added that there will be noticeable progress made in the coming months as the tracks’ support beams are installed.
“Once the girders go in, the alignment begins to take shape,” he said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 85% of the project was temporarily halted in April for several weeks. However, Gallagher said that will not impact the project’s 2024 completion date.
According to Sound Transit, light rail is projected to have 47,000-55,000 daily riders by 2026. Larsen said light rail will also help reduce traffic flow on Interstate 5.
“I’m looking forward to the day when (light rail) is up and running,” he said. “It will continue to show the commitment to reducing congestion on I-5 and giving people further options to get off I-5.”
–By Cody Sexton