Sound Transit Expansion Could Get A Boost From Biden Budget Plan

SEATTLE — President Joe Biden’s recently unveiled 2023 budget proposal would accelerate the delivery of federal funds to support Sound Transit’s light rail expansion work, the transportation agency said Tuesday. Specifically, Sound Transit said the budget would provide more than $516 million in previously expected funds earlier than anticipated, saving taxpayers $40 million in borrowing costs.

“President Biden’s proposed 2023 funding represents a significant acceleration of support fo Sound Transit’s work to build the most ambitious transit expansion program in the nation,” said Kent Feel, chair of the Sound Transit Board. “We thank President Biden, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez for this proposed boost for our region.”

The budget proposal would provide Sound Transit with $716 million, including $318 million for the Federal Way Link Extension and $250 million for the Lynnwood Link Extension, helping both projects be paid off several years ahead of schedule. The savings would be put toward other future extensions, including those in West Seattle, Ballard, South Kirkland, Issaquah, Tacoma and Everett.

“Receiving federal grant commitments early helps us in multiple ways,” said Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit’s CEO. “Not only does it save our taxpayers money, it also frees up capacity in future years so the federal government can help us with our next generation of projects.”

Sound Transit’s light rail system will more than double in capacity over the next three years, growing from 26 to 62 miles. In the longer term, the system will one day grow to serve 116 miles.

The Link’s next major milestone arrives in 2023, when the 2 Line begins service, connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond over 14 miles of track and 10 new stations. Two more Eastside stations will open in 2024, expanding service to downtown Redmond, along with four stations extending north into Lynnwood, and three stations heading south into Federal Way.

Source: Bellevue Patch