Lynnwood Link is inching closer and closer to a firm date for the start of construction, thanks to the submission of the project’s full-funding grant agreement (FFGA) by the FTA lat week. The agreement has been held in limbo by the FTA for several months, but lobbying by Sound Transit and the state’s congressional delegation proved to be successful in pressuring the FTA to fork over federal funds.
Before the full $1.2 billion in funding can be accepted by Sound Transit, the grant application has to be reviewed for a 30-day period by Congress before the agreement is signed and executed. If no major objections are raised, then the signing of the final agreement will release $200 million in immediate funding that Sound Transit was appropriated from the Capital Investment Grants program. The agreement also comes with $658 million in TIFIA loans that were promised two years ago.
The baseline schedule for Lynnwood Link assumed that the FFGA would be signed in summer of this year, but the delay should not significantly impact ongoing planning work. A key milestone in the schedule, however, seems to have lapsed without much notice. The two-part civil contractor has yet to be selected by Sound Transit, but CEO Peter Rogoff said recently that the contracts should be approved during December. Construction is set to begin early next year and be completed in 2024, coinciding with a major restructure of bus routes in Snohomish County.