(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, today expressed strong support for Sound Transit and the revised Full Funding Grant Agreement the agency has submitted to federal transportation officials.
Responding to questions from Sen. Patty Murray, Mineta said he was "very confident about the revised plan" to bring link light rail to the Puget Sound. Mineta was testifying before the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, of which Sen. Murray is the highest ranking Democrat.
Mineta went even further in praising Joni Earl, who took over the management of Sound Transit in 2001. "I personally have a lot of confidence in the Executive Director who has gone a long way in improving" the agency, Mineta enthused.
The Transportation Secretary's endorsement of Sound Transit today follows other recent positive developments to help reduce traffic congestion in the Puget Sound. In February, Sound Transit was awarded a "highly recommended" rating by the Federal Transit Administration, one of only two projects in the nation to receive such an accolade. The Bush Administration has proposed $75 million in funding for the agency in its FY 2004 budget.
During this morning's hearing, Sen. Murray asked Secretary Mineta if he had any reservations about Sound Transit or the revised FFGA. "Not at all," Mineta replied to Murray. "I appreciate your work with the FTA and Sound Transit to bring them to where they are today."