- The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration has executed a $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for Seattle's $3.2 billion, 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link Extension light-rail project through the FTA Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program. This is the largest transit grant agreement completed by President Donald Trump's administration. The project’s governing agency, the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit), also has been approved for low-interest Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans of up to $658 million.
- The FTA funding agreement will cover 36% of total project costs, and Sound Transit will now be allowed to draw on $200 million of previously approved CIG funds. Demolition and utility relocation work is scheduled to begin early this year, with construction slated for spring. Service on the new line, which will connect downtown Seattle to northern suburbs, is expected to begin in 2024.
- K. Jane Williams, acting FTA administrator, told The Seattle Times that Lynnwood’s grant process was helped by a local commitment to pay for the majority of the project with local funding. Despite accusations that the Trump administration has been reluctant to spend federal dollars on transit projects, Williams pointed to the 13 funding agreements totaling $3.3 billion executed since Trump took office two years ago, plus another four totaling $1.5 billion expected to be approved this year.
One of the organizations that has questioned the Trump administration’s commitment to transit funding is transit advocacy group Transportation for America. According to the group, the FTA is still holding on to approximately $1.5 billion of the more than $2.3 billion of transit project funding Congress has approved in the last two years.
The list of projects waiting on funding, according to the organization, have also committed local funds toward construction. Some of those projects include streetcar projects in Tempe, Arizona, Seattle and Sacramento, California; bus rapid transit projects in St. Petersburg, Florida, Reno, Nevada, and Minneapolis; and the Purple Line subway extension in Los Angeles. The FTA responded that unfunded projects have not yet met all of the CIG program's requirements.
When the FTA approved the project for a full funding grant in November, Sound Transit officials said the authority would soon begin issuing construction contracts but have made no major announcements yet in that regard. However, according to the FTA, Sound Transit will issue two general contractor/construction manager contracts for civil works and one for system design; a design-build contract for the operations and maintenance facility; and a procurement contract for 34 light-rail vehicles.
Back in 2016, Sound Transit announced that it had issued a final notice to proceed on a $73.7 million final design contract to HNTB Jacobs Trusted Design Partners joint venture.