Sound Transit and the U.S. Department of Transportation executed an $87.7-million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan to build a new maintenance base in Bellevue, Wash., to support future light-rail expansions.
The 25-acre Operations and Maintenance Facility East in Bellevue is needed for continuing expansion of the region’s light-rail system. By 2024, the system will grow from 22 to 62 miles and the existing light-rail fleet will more than triple in size, from 62 to 214 vehicles. The current facility in Seattle can store and maintain at least 104 light-rail vehicles. The new eastside facility will be designed to maintain, store and deploy an additional 96 vehicles.
The loan is the second Sound Transit has secured under a $1.99-billion credit agreement approved by USDOT in December. Sound Transit said the credit agreement is the first of its kind in the nation in supporting four separate Sound Transit projects. It is expected to yield regional taxpayers long-term savings of between $200 million and $300 million in reduced borrowing costs.
“The people of Puget Sound stand to benefit the most from this needed U.S. Department of Transportation loan that will make possible a second storage and maintenance facility for upcoming light rail expansions,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Securing the nation’s first master credit agreement last year was a big win for our region, especially when one considers the taxpayer dollars we’ll save on borrowing costs. I want to thank Secretary Chao and her team for our continued federal partnership through the TIFIA program.”