The Sound Transit Board of Directors voted Thursday to award the first round of System Access Funds for projects that make it easier and more convenient to get to transit. The board approved applications from 27 jurisdictions in Sound Transit’s five subareas, with funding totaling more than $40 million.
The project awards range in size from $116,000 for new bike lanes in Puyallup, part of the Pierce County subarea, to $3,700,000 for the design and construction of a nonmotorized bridge at 148th Street in Shoreline, part of the North King subarea. Twenty-six of the 30 projects will result in physical improvements, while the remaining projects will fund, either fully or in part, project design. Almost all of the projects will come on line in the next one to five years.
“These awards will fund projects that remove barriers for existing and potential transit riders and allow them to take advantage of the region’s growing, high-capacity transit system,” said John Marchione, Sound Transit Board Chair and Mayor of Redmond. “Easy access is an important component for increasing ridership and creating better customer experiences.”
The 2016 voter-approved Sound Transit 3 System Plan included a System Access Fund for projects such as safe sidewalks, protected bike lanes, shared-use paths, bus transfer facilities, and new pickup and drop-off areas. The System Access Fund provides $100 million (2014$) and is allocated equally among Sound Transit’s five subareas for projects that make it easier and more convenient to get to transit. Up to $10 million was available for each subarea in the first round.
Today’s Board action completes a process started earlier in 2019, when Sound Transit opened a call for projects to solicit proposals from local governments and transit agencies. Sound Transit received 53 applications from 33 jurisdictions totaling more than $86 million in requests.
Sound Transit staff evaluated the project proposals based on policy and technical factors, rating applications high, medium, or low for each factor, and assigning each project an overall rating of highly recommended, recommended, or not recommended. An online open house last summer that allowed the public to comment on applications received more than 2,600 project-specific survey responses.
All of the selected projects will be implemented by the local jurisdictions, including the planning, environmental review, design, and construction. All completed projects will be owned, operated, and maintained by the local government. Sound Transit will enter into funding agreements closer to when local governments are able to advance projects and will closely monitor implementation once agreements are executed.
A full list of the awards is available in the Board Motion.
For more information about the System Access Fund, please visit www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/creating-vibrant-stations/connecting-to-stations/system-access-fund