Construction is starting on Sound Transit’s 7.8-mile Federal Way Link Extension project, the company announced Thursday.
Federal Way Link will extend light rail from Angle Lake Station in SeaTac to Federal Way, and the extension project includes three new stations serving Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.
Due to COVID-19 health guidelines in King County, a traditional in-person groundbreaking event could not take place. Sound Transit instead opted for a virtual celebration via video featuring Sound Transit board members and employees, elected officials and community partners.
The $3.1 billion light rail project includes a $790 million Capital Investment Grant from the Federal Transit Administration and a $629.5 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a July 16 Sound Transit news release.
Set to open in 2024, the route to Federal Way will offer “fast, frequent and reliable service between South King County and Sea-Tac Airport, downtown Seattle, the University of Washington, Northgate, Lynnwood and Bellevue,” the release said.
“South Sound commuters will soon have a quicker, cleaner and healthier transportation option,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The three new stations between Angle Lake and the Federal Way Transit Center will give more students a chance to attend Highline College, bring shoppers to local businesses and create jobs for decades to come.”
Breaking ground on this project is a step toward the future of Federal Way.
“The Federal Way Link Extension shows an investment in jobs, a focus on tourism as well as greater connectivity to the entire region, not only for Federal Way residents, but for anyone passing through our city,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. “This project represents progress for the entire region.”
The light rail project will also provide greater access for local students.
“The Federal Way Link Extension will mean so much to our students and community,” said Highline College President John Mosby. “Light rail will continue to make access to higher education within their reach and give them the ability to transform their lives right here in the South Sound.”
By 2021, Sound Transit will expand light rail to the University District, Roosevelt and Northgate. In 2022, Tacoma Link will expand to the Hilltop neighborhood. In 2023, trains will reach Mercer Island, Bellevue and the Overlake area. In addition to the Federal Way Link Extension, 2024 will bring the opening of extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and Downtown Redmond.
“Building the Federal Way Link Extension is really about building a prosperous economy,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “We are now just a few years away from the true rail network that the region has needed for a very long time.”
For more information, visit SoundTransit.org.