Senator Murray announced the FFGA signing in a packed room of hundreds of Sound Transit employees and boosters at its Union Station headquarters. The crowd cheered and gave a standing ovation as Senator Murray entered the room.

Senator Murray’s remarks follow:

I have just received word that the moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived. The Full Funding Grant Agreement, which commits the federal government to providing $500 million to build Link Light Rail in the Puget Sound, has just been signed.

This is a great day for Puget Sound and for Sound Transit. Despite the obstacles, the roadblocks, and the naysayers, this project has persevered.

I would like to thank Ron Sims, Bob Drewel, and John Ladenburg for their tireless advocacy and for never giving up hope. They are true leaders who serve our state well. Through slings and arrows, they held firm and our whole state will be the better for it.

I want to thank Joni Earl and her staff – without whose professionalism and integrity we would not be standing here today

I want to thank my colleague Norm Dicks, who, while he couldn’t be here today, provided much spirit and drive, and is always a welcome help.

And I want to thank the Bush Administration – especially Sect. Mineta and FTA Administrator Jenna Dorn. They took the time to understand our state’s needs and worked with me and our region to ensure that – together – we could address them.

With the signing of the FFGA in Washington, DC, we have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Light rail means less traffic congestion and more jobs for the Puget Sound region. That’s great news for transportation and our economy.

Sound Transit is the Little Engine That Could. It will be the engine that improves transportation, and it’s also an economic engine that will put thousands of people back to work. Because of Sound Transit, about four thousand more people will have jobs designing, engineering, and building light rail.

For a region that has faced two years of tough economic times, the signing of the FFGA could not come too soon.

Now we all need to continue to work together as a region and a state to continue to solve our transportation challenges. Building our transportation infrastructure – whether its roads, transit, ferries, trains, or air travel - improves our quality of life and provides the foundation for a strong economy.