Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urge Transportation Secretary to Keep Promise to Constituents in Western WA and Follow Through on Commitment to Lynnwood Link Extension

Jun 29, 2018 Issues: Transportation & Infrastructure

(Washington, D.C.) – Led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a bipartisan group of Congressional members representing Western Washington wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao this week to urge her to follow through on her repeated promises to follow Congressional direction and approve federal investments affecting projects like Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link Extension. The 8.5 mile light rail project would connect King and Snohomish Counties, helping address concerns over increasingly bad traffic congestion and continued regional growth with an estimated one million new residents expected in Puget Sound by 2040.  


Sound Transit first received approval for the project in 2013, kicking off a multi-step process to secure federal investments. But despite Congress making investments available in the two most recent spending bills, the Department of Transportation has yet to allocate funding to move the Lynnwood Link Extension forward.


In their letter, the members pointed to Secretary Chao’s previous commitments to make progress, writing: “For over a year at numerous committee hearings you have said DOT would follow the law, adhere to the will of Congress, and execute CIG grant agreements that have received federal funding. Congress has provided clear direction on the CIG program in the last two fiscal years…”


The members continued, noting that the region is doing its part and picking up the vast majority of the costs for the Lynnwood Link Extension through local investments: “As a result, the federal share of the Lynnwood Link Extension is just 36 percent. We would argue this is exactly the type of local commitment the Administration is seeking.”


The members’ letter included an attachment with recent letters to Secretary Chao from a variety of stakeholders, from the business community to transit agencies. Access all of the letters HERE.


In addition to Murray, signees of the letter include Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA).