Sound Transit announced it will receive $15.9 million in new federal funding for Stride bus rapid transit investments on south I-405 that the agency says will dramatically improve bus service for the region’s residents.
The funding includes a $12.9 million competitive Federal Transit Administration grant secured with support from Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell and the rest of the region’s congressional delegation. The grant will be used to procure new bus rapid transit vehicles, and to construct the South Renton Transit Center and Tukwila International Boulevard inline BRT stations on the S1 line, between Burien and Bellevue.
It also includes a $3 million earmark in the fiscal year of 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that was pushed for by Sen. Patty Murray.
“Stride will offer faster, more reliable commutes to thousands of riders every day on new dedicated lines spanning the East, North and South sides of Lake Washington,” said Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. “This funding for building the Stride S1 line on south I-405 will help us give our residents relief to chronic congestion.”
The omnibus bill also includes Sound Transit’s Fiscal Year 2022 installments of $200 million for grant agreements previously awarded by the Federal Transit Administration supporting the Lynnwood and Federal Way light rail extensions that the agency is working to open in 2024.
“Faster and more frequent transit will improve the lives of people who live and work in south King County,” said Sound Transit Board member and Renton City Councilmember Ed Prince. “Many in our community depend on transit, and better mobility means better access to jobs, education and the many cultural and recreational activities our region has to offer.”
Sound Transit says their Stride system will provide faster and more reliable bus service along a 37-mile corridor stretching from Lynnwood to Burien and a 9-mile corridor from Shoreline to Bothell. The new funding will support construction of the S1 Line between Burien and Bellevue, which the agency is working to open in 2026. In the particularly congested stretch between Bellevue and Renton, S1 Line buses will operate mostly in express toll lanes developed in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, with additional routing on general purpose lanes of I-405 and SR 518 and local streets in Burien, Renton and Bellevue.
“Our investments in transit infrastructure are critical not only to people’s travel but to our economy and environment. They can’t happen without strong federal partnerships like this,” said Sound Transit Board member Claudia Balducci, chair of the Board’s System Expansion Committee.
The Stride S2 Line is scheduled to open in 2027 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. The S3 Line is scheduled to open in 2026 between Bothell and Shoreline. Stride passengers will be able to easily transfer to and from Sound Transit’s fast-expanding Link light rail system at Tukwila, Bellevue, Shoreline, and Lynnwood and an array of local bus routes. In Bothell, the S3 Line will connect riders with bus service to Woodinville.
Before the Stride lines open Sound Transit will complete Link light rail expansions that more than double the reach of the Link system. In 2023 Sound Transit will open the 2-Line, extending light rail from Seattle to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond’s Overlake area. In 2024 Sound Transit is scheduled to open 1-Line extensions to Lynnwood and Federal Way and a 2-Line extension to Downtown Redmond.
Sound Transit’s light rail expansions are supported by nearly $2 billion in FTA grants for reaching Lynnwood and Federal Way, as well as the United States Department of Transportation’s largest-ever package of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans. The agency says the loans are creating more than $500 million in savings for regional taxpayers.
Information on Sound Transit expansions is available at https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion.