The preferred alternative location for the Operations and Maintenance Facility East (OMF East) Credit: Sound Transit

Calling it “good news,” Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit, told the board during the June 22 meeting that the agency had secured a second low-interest TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $88 million loan, with an interest rate of 2.73 percent, will be used to construct a new maintenance base in Bellevue.

Last year, Sound Transit signed a $1.99 billion master credit agreement with USDOT that included four low-interest loans. Rogoff estimated the master credit agreement will save taxpayers between $200-300 million in borrowing costs.

This is the second TIFIA loan the agency has secured and the first under the new presidential administration. In January 2015, ST was awarded its first below-market loan from the federal program. Two more low-interest loans are expected in 2018 — one for the Lynnwood Link extension and the other for the Federal Way Link Extension.

Sound Transit applied for TIFIA loans “to insulate the agency from unexpected downturns in the economy and provide taxpayers savings from agency borrowing costs,” according to a press release.

With the amount of federal funding still uncertain for the Lynnwood and Federal Way link extensions, the agency warns it would not be “prudent” to assume a specific amount of additional financial capacity from the loans.

Rogoff also updated the board on the status of federal funding or grants, telling members not to expect clear answers for several months or even years.

He said the current presidential administration has reiterated its opposition to funding any new projects. “Board members should be aware this is likely to be a long and difficult slog in terms of getting a firm fix on what our federal assistance will continue to be, if any.”

6 Replies to “ST Wins $88 million Federal Loan”

  1. The original East Link proposal was to place the OMF out near Marymoor Park. The board claimed they needed to switch the location to Bed-Red because funding for the extension to Redmond was not in place. Now that it is (was there really any doubt?) why doesn’t ST look at going back to the original plan which I have to believe would be far less expensive and not have the negative impacts on development and the regional trail that building the facility in Bel-Red does?

    1. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the downtown Redmond segment opens later. Bummer though that they changed the location for only a year difference.

      1. Maybe it has to do with the future market value of that Spring District land. The profits from building TOD there in 10 years will help immensely with future lines.

        When it comes to Sound Transit, money is the only thing that talks.

  2. Will the layout of this facility change because of the ST3 Kirkland extension? Won’t the same tracks and switches be useful for both purposes?

  3. I think that ship has sailed.

    The new base needs to be up and running when East Link comes on line (is it needed for Lynwood too, given the decision not to build a base on the North End in ST2?).

    The current finance plan for ST doesn’t envision construction money going to Redmond Link until after East Link opens. There still needs to be an EIS for Redmond.

    Redmond has changed the zoning of the area where the Redmond base would have been, so the benefits of the original location over the current location aren’t as clear cut as they once were.

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