Bush Administration’s Federal Transit Administration Sends Full Funding Grant Agreement to Congress

Jul 11 2003

Central Link light rail expected to eliminate “seven lanes of traffic during peak travel times”

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Federal Transit Administration has submitted for Congressional review an agreement worth $500 million to help build Central Link light rail in the Puget Sound.

In a letter to Senator Patty Murray that accompanied the Full Funding Grant Agreement, FTA Administrator Jenna Dorn explained how important light rail is to relieving traffic in the Puget Sound.

“The proposed light rail line is a key element of the regional transportation plan,” Dorn wrote. “The light rail line will extend travel options and capacity in the corridor, providing a practical alternative to driving on increasingly congested roadways.

Further, Administrator Dorn praised the project’s ability to get cars off of congested Puget Sound highways.

“The project is expected to eliminate 14,500 car trips each day. That number of cars could fill seven lanes of traffic during peak travel times. Further, the daily travel time savings for the projected 42,000 daily light rail commuters will be equivalent to nearly three work-weeks each year.”

Administrator Dorn also lauded the cost-benefits of Central Link light rail.

“[I]n the 2003 New Starts Report, Seattle scored better than the majority of projects rated on cost per hour of travel time saved. In other words, the benefits of this project are less costly to achieve than for most other projects currently in final design and preliminary engineering.”

Congress now has 60 days to review the Full Funding Grant Agreement. At the end of that period, the FTA Administrator or the Secretary of Transportation may sign the agreement, obligating the federal government to provide $500 million for Central Link light rail.

Senator Murray said, “This FFGA truly speaks for itself. It demonstrates a firm commitment from the federal government to Link light rail, and it shows how important this project is in addressing our region’s transportation crisis.”

Murray continued, “I appreciate this strong statement from the Bush Administration, Secretary Mineta, and Administrator Dorn, and I welcome their commitment to addressing the transportation crisis in the Puget Sound area.”