Cantwell, Murray Hail Capital Investment Grants for Washington State Transit Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) announcement of a $59.9 million Small Starts funding award for King County Metro’s Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and a $37 million Capital Investment Grant for Community Transit to fund the Swift Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expansion. Senator Murray’s office worked closely with Community Transit, Sound Transit, and the FTA to secure the grant allocations. Senators Murray and Cantwell sent letters of support to the FTA for both projects.

 “With congestion throughout Puget Sound and our park and rides filled to capacity, it’s imperative we get people out of their cars before they leave their neighborhood. That’s why these bus rapid transit grants will help connect people more easily to our mass transit network – whether it’s a ferry or our light rail system,” Senator Cantwell said. “The Madison bus rapid transit line in Seattle will provide frequent service along one of the city’s busiest transit corridors, with departures every six minutes at peak hours and connections to Sound Transit light rail and Washington State Ferries. And Community Transit’s Swift Orange Line will improve bus travel times by 25% while connecting Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mill Creek commuters with Sound Transit’s new light rail expansion.”

“My office has been working closely with the Federal Transit Administration and local transit partners to secure these funds and I’m pleased to see those efforts come to fruition,” said Senator Murray. “These resources will reduce congestion, create jobs, and build more equitable communities. Securing federal dollars to help us invest in public transit across Washington state will continue to be a top priority for me this Congress.”

The Madison BRT Project will deliver fast, reliable, frequent transit service to the Madison corridor, from 1st Avenue in downtown to First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Madison Valley. The project is projected to improve transit travel time by up to 35%, reduce variability between trips to less than 1 minute, and increase ridership by 70%, to over 12,000 riders per day. The project has completed the final design phase and stands ready to begin construction now that the Small Starts funding award has been secured.   

The Orange Line is an expansion of Community Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and will run along the corridor between Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood and the McCollum Park and Ride in Mill Creek. It will connect the two other Swift BRT lines, as well as Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension light rail station that is anticipated to open in 2024.  

The Chair of the Senate transportation committee, Cantwell has long been a champion of investment in Washington state’s transportation infrastructure and has helped secure federal funding for important infrastructure projects throughout the state. She created the INFRA (formerly known as FASTLANE) grant program in 2015 to fund freight and highway infrastructure projects nationwide – including Seattle’s recently-completed Lander St. overpass project. And as Congress turns its attention to infrastructure investment, Cantwell spoke recently at a Commerce Committee hearing about her infrastructure investment priorities.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has consistently worked to secure federal funding for Washington state transit priorities, including these two projects, and in 2009 created the TIGER/BUILD grant program, which invests in important road, rail, transit, and port projects, including Washington state’s ferry terminal in Mukilteo and modernization projects at the Port of Everett. Earlier this month, Senators Murray and Cantwell introduced the Public Transit Capital Investment Relief Act of 2021, legislation that would provide relief for public transportation agencies through the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program by increasing the federal cost share of the total project cost for qualifying projects that are under construction or near completion.