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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Its Largest Package of Loans Ever, Up to $3.84 billion, for Sound Transit to Carry Out Six Projects in Washington State

Friday, September 17, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has provided  a package of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans of up to $3.84 billion for the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) for the financing of the Downtown Redmond Link Extension and refinancing of an additional five projects (the Projects.) The total savings to Sound Transit is estimated to be more than $630 million over the life of the loans, while helping move projects forward that will create and sustains tens of thousands of jobs.

“These loans are a sign of this Administration’s commitment to public transit, jobs and addressing climate change.” said U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg, at the announcement in Washington state in August. “As excited as we are about these projects, we also know that there is so much more to do across the country – and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will allow us to deliver on that.”

“Refinancing our earlier TIFIA loans will create more than $630 million in savings for our region’s taxpayers, helping us deliver the largest transit infrastructure program in the country as quickly as we can. Expanding the program to include the Downtown Redmond Link Extension expands our savings still further,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “With our population growing and our planet warming, the stakes are high, and we are creating truly impactful benefits. We thank Secretary Buttigieg, the Build America Bureau, and our congressional delegation for their dedicated leadership toward making our transit expansions possible.”

Sound Transit is a public transit agency serving the central Puget Sound metropolitan area in Washington state, and operates the Link light rail system in Seattle and Tacoma, the Sounder commuter rail and the Sound Transit Express bus service. Sound Transit is the first transit system to achieve carbon-free operations utilizing hydroelectricity and wind.

The TIFIA loans will replace the current loan for the Sound Transit Northgate Link Light Rail Extension, which is scheduled to open this fall. This project is a 4.3-mile light rail extension, including three new stations, from the University of Washington north to Northgate. The TIFIA loans also include refinancing for the East Link, Lynnwood Link and Federal Way Link extensions of light rail as well as the Operations and Management Facility East projects. Additionally, it provides financing for the under-construction Downtown Redmond Link Light Rail Extension.

The Projects will provide benefits to the central Puget Sound area, including reduced congestion greenhouse gas emissions, expanded routes and more reliable service, and increased ridership capacity.  
The Bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit program, was established under the Obama administration 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.  The Bureau has the resources and full commitment to provide additional flexibility and financial assistance to transportation projects in regions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the negative effects and aid in the recovery from this crisis.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed $35 billion in TIFIA financings to date, supporting more than $122 billion in infrastructure investment across the country.