The Federal Transit Administration approved $2.6 billion in Capital Investment Grants funding this week, including $100 million for the Lynnwood Link Extension. The installment in the second granted to Sound Transit for the project, but can’t be used until the signing of a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) between the FTA and Sound Transit, which has slipped past its scheduled summer 2018 date.
The project’s $2.77 billion baseline budget relies on a heavy federal contribution of $1.17 billion, which would be released in installments by the FTA. Sound Transit reports that it is working with the FTA and the state’s congressional delegation to complete the FFGA by the end of the year, which would allow for a trouble-free January 2019 groundbreaking as set in the baseline schedule.
While the funding situation is still being worked out, there are plenty of signs that Lynnwood Link construction is imminent. In early August, the McDonald’s furniture store and Black Angus restaurant were demolished to make way for the future Lynnwood City Center Station and its new parking garage. Several homes at the site of the Shoreline South/145th Station have been vacated and boarded up, awaiting demolition and salvaging. Just south of 145th, a new cell phone tower has been installed to replace an existing tower that was too close to the freeway (and thus in the way of the light rail guideway). Next year, Sound Transit will begin removing trees and other vegetation near the future guideway that will eventually be replaced by nearly 20,000 replanted trees before moving on to utility relocation and actual dirt-churning construction.
The project is scheduled to be compete by mid-2024 and will bring four-car trains through Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood at frequencies of four minutes during peak periods. The line’s four stations will have a combined 3,790 parking spaces and the travel time from Lynnwood to Westlake is pegged at about 27 minutes, which is comparable to buses in light traffic today.