Seattle’s Sound Transit has received an $87.7 million low-interest Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for constructing a new maintenance base in Bellevue to support upcoming light rail expansions.
The loan has an interest rate of 2.73 percent and is expected to yield regional taxpayers long-term savings of between $200 million and $300 million in reduced borrowing costs.
"As our region's population grows and congestion worsens, we need, more than ever, a mass transit network that connects our communities to jobs and economic opportunity," said Dave Somers, Sound Transit board chair and Snohomish County executive. "Our strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation is essential to helping us meet the demand for fast, reliable transit services."
Sound Transit applied for the U.S. Department of Transportation TIFIA loans to insulate the agency from unexpected downturns in the economy. The loans supporting Sound Transit's Lynnwood and Federal Way light rail extensions are expected to be executed in 2018.
"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."
The 25-acre Operations and Maintenance Facility East in Bellevue will help expand the region's light rail system, which by 2024, is expected to grow from 22 to 62 miles and the light rail fleet to more than triple in size. The new facility will be designed to maintain, store and deploy an additional 96 vehicles.