Office of Senator Maria Cantwell announcement.
On April 17, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that Sound Transit will receive a $154 million loan to finance the South Sounder Access Improvement Project, including construction of new parking garages at three Sounder train stations: Puyallup, Sumner and Auburn.
The loan comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program, which was created in 1998 to provide direct loans and loan guarantees to finance development of railroad infrastructure. In 2021, Sen. Cantwell helped push through significant reforms to RRIF as part of the Biden-Harris Infrastructure Law, including making it easier for commuter railroads to access funding for improvements around stations. The loan will reduce Sound Transit’s debt service payment by at least $53 million through 2046.
The new parking stalls will allow hundreds more people in the South Sound to take the Sounder train every day and enjoy a fast and reliable commute. In addition to construction of the parking facilities, the project includes construction of sidewalks, ramps and street lighting improvements. The project was approved by the region’s voters under the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure in 2008.
The Puyallup Station parking garage has 510 parking stalls and was opened to the public last month.
The Sumner Station parking garage will include approximately 500 parking stalls. The garage is expected to open to the public in 2025.
The Auburn Station parking garage will include approximately 550 parking stalls. The garage is expected to open to the public by 2027.
Sen. Cantwell is a longtime champion of ongoing investments in Washington state’s light rail system. In March, Sen. Cantwell announced a $173 million loan to Sound Transit to finance the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project and the NE 130th Street (Seattle) Station project. Upon finalization of the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, Sen. Cantwell celebrated the inclusion of $329 million for the Federal Way Link Light Rail Extension – which fully funds the project three years ahead of schedule – and $254 million for the Lynnwood Light Rail Extension. As chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Sen. Cantwell helped deliver large funding increases for transportation in the Biden-Harris Infrastructure Law, which included $8 billion for Capital Investment Grant funding for large transit projects over five years.