The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 announced a $790 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with Sound Transit for its Federal Way Link Extension Project, through FTA’s Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program

Sound Transit has also been approved for up to $629.5 million in USDOT credit assistance through the Build America Bureau under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

“This $790 million federal grant will improve mobility for thousands of people who travel throughout the Seattle area,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The project is a 7.8-mile extension of the Link light rail system, from the existing Angle Lake station through the cities of SeaTac, Des Moines, Kent, and Federal Way in southern King County, Washington.  The project will serve a dense suburban corridor where the existing roadway network is constrained, and travel options are limited to two congested roadways.

“Commuters in Seattle can now look forward to a one seat ride between King County, Sea-Tac Airport, downtown Seattle, and the University of Washington,” said FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams.  “This extension will improve access to jobs, healthcare, educational opportunities, and other destinations in the Puget Sound region.”

FTA’s CIG Program provides funding for major transit projects nationwide.  Projects accepted into the program must go through a multi-year, multi-step process according to requirements in law to be eligible for consideration to receive program funds.

Since January 20, 2017, FTA has advanced funding for 25 new CIG projects throughout the nation totaling approximately $7.5 billion in funding commitments. With today’s FFGA signing, this Administration has executed 19 CIG funding agreements totaling more than $4.42 billion in CIG funding.

The Build America Bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit program, was established as a “one-stop shop” to streamline credit opportunities while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation.  During Secretary Chao’s tenure at DOT, the Bureau has closed 18 loans totaling $7.3 billion in TIFIA financings, supporting more than $25.7 billion in infrastructure investment across the country. This included 3 loans to Sound Transit under a Master Credit Agreement totaling $1.4 billion.

Scott Schaefer

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