Sound Transit applies for $1.17B federal grant

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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The Sound Transit Board approved submission of an application for a $1.17 billion grant for the Lynnwood Link Extension on Dec. 21, moving toward breaking ground in 2018 and extending light-rail service to Snohomish County residents in 2024.


The submission of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) application comes after Sound Transit successfully completed a series of steps required by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program to establish funding eligibility for the project.

While working to secure the grant, Sound Transit is continuing with a comprehensive value engineering effort to reduce earlier design project cost estimates as a result of a booming local construction market and rising costs in real estate, materials and skilled labor. After working with the cities of Lynnwood, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Seattle to analyze more than 240 cost-savings ideas that would not reduce project scope, the agency has identified a potential $200 million of cost reductions to advance to 90-percent design. Cost-saving measures include modifying the design of the elevated guideway, relocating the 184th Street parking garage from the west to east side of Interstate 5 and reducing the height or retaining walls along the alignment. Final design of major project elements is slated to be complete in early 2019.

“Last year, voters stepped up and passed billions of dollars in local taxes for critical transit expansions that, like Lynnwood Link, will serve a rapidly growing region,” said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. “It’s only right that this project receive full federal support, and we’re working closely with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and our Congressional delegation to obtain this grant.”

To keep the project competitive for federal funding and execution of a grant award in the third quarter of 2018, Sound Transit’s application is based on earlier, 60-percent designs estimating a capital cost of $2.9 billion. Including financing costs, the application will reflect a total project cost estimate of $3.07 billion. Sound Transit will continue analyzing other opportunities to maximize savings, where possible, during 90-percent design work.

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 mid-2018, with major construction activities beginning in 2019.