“This is great news for everyone in the Puget Sound region who wants to see more commuting options and our freeway congestion eased,” said Dave Somers, Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive. “Lynnwood Link is the first major investment in light rail for Snohomish County, and we appreciate the hard work of our congressional delegation and the Federal Transit Administration. Sound Transit has an ambitious plan to deliver for the people of our region, and Lynnwood Link is a key part of that plan.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau on Dec. 19 also executed a $658 million low-interest loan supporting the Lynnwood light rail extension. According to a Sound Transit announcement, the loan stems from Sound Transit’s 2016 success in becoming the first transportation agency in the country to enter into a master credit agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation that will provide $2 billion in low-interest loans spanning four projects.
The loans, enabled by the USDOT’s Build America Bureau and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, are cumulatively forecasted to save regional taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million through lower interest costs, the announcement said.
Under the agreement, the Federal Transit Administration commits to provide up to $1.17 billion (36 percent of the total estimated cost), subject to annual Congressional appropriation. In return, Sound Transit commits to completing the project on time, within budget, and in compliance with all applicable federal requirements.
Execution of the grant allows Sound Transit to initially draw upon $200 million in past appropriations toward the $1.17 billion. In advance of the full funding grant agreement approval, Congress approved $100 million in FY 2018 Capital Investment Grant funding for the Lynnwood Link light rail extension and $100 million in FY 2017 funding.
Trains on the 8.5-mile light rail extension from Northgate to the Lynnwood Transit will serve four stations along the route at Northeast 145th Street, Northeast 185th Street, the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center at 236th Street Southwest, and the Lynnwood Transit Center at 48th Avenue West. Demolition and utility relocation work is scheduled to begin early next year, followed by major construction activities beginning in spring 2019.
Lynnwood Link light rail service is scheduled to begin in July 2024. Trains are planned to operate every four minutes during weekday peak hours, every five minutes during off-peak and evening hours on weekdays and every five minutes on weekends.
More information on the Lynnwood Link Extension is available at soundtransit.org/Lynnwoodextension.