The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced plans to provide up to $3.84bn in Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans for the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit ).
This amount will be utilised for supporting the Downtown Redmond Link Extension as well as refinancing of additional five projects.
Sound Transit is expected to save over $630m over the life of the loans.
Commenting on the infusion, Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said: “Refinancing our earlier TIFIA loans will create more than $630m in savings for our region’s taxpayers, helping us deliver the largest transit infrastructure programme in the country as quickly as we can. Expanding the programme to include the Downtown Redmond Link Extension expands our savings still further.”
The current loan for the Sound Transit Northgate Link Light Rail Extension, which is planned to open this fall, will be replaced by the TIFIA loans.
This 6.9km light rail extension project will cover three new stations, stretching north from the University of Washington to Northgate.
In addition, TIFIA loans will cover the refinancing for the East Link, Lynnwood Link and Federal Way Link extensions of light rail, along with the Operations and Management Facility East projects.
This is in addition to supporting the under-construction Downtown Redmond Link Light Rail Extension.
The new projects will increase ridership capacity, cut down congestion greenhouse gas emissions, as well as offer additional routes.
In a statement, USDOT said: “The bureau, which administers the TIFIA credit programme, was established under the Obama administration as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to streamline credit opportunities while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation.”
So far, the USDOT has closed $35bn in TIFIA financings.
Earlier this month, Sound Transit commenced full simulated service on the Northgate Link segment just before its opening, which is scheduled for 2 October this year.