February 2, 2009
Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver Awarded Federal FFGAs
In a time of economic downturn, good financial news is hard to come by. So the announcement by the Federal Transit Administration of three Full Funding Grant Agreements will provide both a boost to the economies of Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Denver and dramatically enhanced public transportation access to the residents of those areas.
At ceremonies in January, acting Federal Transit Administrator Sherry Little presented the FFGAs to Sound Transit in Seattle, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in Salt Lake City, and Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD).
Sound Transit received the largest FFGA: $813 million for the University Link light rail extension, presented during a Jan. 14 ceremony at Union Station in Seattle. When it opens in 2016, the University Link light rail line is expected to add more than 70,000 daily riders to Sound Transit’s light rail system.
According to a U.S. Department of Commerce model, the University Link project is estimated to generate 2,900 direct construction jobs, with a total economic impact equivalent to 22,800 both direct and indirect jobs. The total cost of the extension project is $1.9 billion, with the balance coming from existing Sound Transit revenues.
The main Link light rail line, operating between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport, opens this year.
“When the system is complete, students, faculty, staff, and visitors will find it much easier to come to campus and move about the region with greater ease and efficiency,” said University of Washington President Mark A. Emmert. “And they will also be traveling in an environmentally friendly mode. The University District is about to take another major leap forward into the future.”
The Mid-Jordan Extension of UTA’s TRAX light rail system received an FFGA totaling $428.3 million, announced Jan. 9 at an event commemorating the completion of 25 percent of construction on the line. The Mid-Jordan Extension is scheduled to enter service in late 2011, and UTA estimates daily ridership on the 10.6-mile line at 9,500 by 2030.
This extension will connect the existing Sandy/Salt Lake TRAX line with the developing Daybreak development in South Jordan. It will include nine new stations and an additional platform for connections at an existing TRAX station, along with acquisition of 28 new vehicles.
In Denver, RTD received $308.6 million in funding through its FFGA for the West Corridor Light Rail Project at a Jan. 16 event. The light rail line is due to open in 2013—one year ahead of schedule—with 12 new stations, six with park-and-ride facilities, and is estimated to carry 30,000 daily riders by 2030.
The West Corridor, part of the comprehensive FasTracks project, is the fifth RTD rail project and fourth rail line to receive federal funding. It will connect Denver Union Station with the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden, serving Denver, Lakewood, the Denver Federal Center, Golden, and Jefferson County.