(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today Representative Ernest Istook sent a letter to the Federal Transit Administration to share his concerns about the responsiveness of the Administrator and the FTA’s management of Sound Transit.

Sen. Murray released the following statement.

“Over the past several years Sound Transit has faced a number of challenges and criticisms, some of which were justifiable. During the past two years, the agency has made remarkable progress and by any objective measure the agency is on track.

Sound Transit is one of only two “highly recommended” transit projects in the nation. In July, it was given a clean bill of health by the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation. A few days later the Federal Transit Administration announced it endorsed Sound Transit’s $500 million Full Funding Grant Agreement.

And just last week the Senate Transportation Appropriations subcommittee approved the full $75 million which President Bush requested to pay for Sound Transit in FY 2004.

The concerns raised by the congressman appear to be related to the responsiveness of the FTA, with regard to who was answering his questions and how quickly they were being addressed. Obviously, members of congress deserve to be treated with respect by Administration agencies.

Link light rail continues to offer real benefits to Puget Sound residents. Not only will Sound Transit help get thousands of cars off busy Washington roads and highways, but it will help our region manage future growth while making the existing transportation grid more productive.

Last week, the full Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved $75 million for Sound Transit as part of the FY2004 Transportation spending bill. In the coming weeks the full Senate will vote on this measure, after which it will go to a House-Senate conference committee. Throughout the process I will continue to advocate for this important transportation solution for the Puget Sound."