Community Transit will be building 30 Swift bus line stations, similar to this one in Everett, on the new Green Line. (Community Transit)

Community Transit will be building 30 Swift bus line stations, similar to this one in Everett, on the new Green Line. (Community Transit)

Infusion of federal money boosts the second Swift bus route

Community Transit’s second bus rapid transit line, from Bothell to Paine Field, is to open next year.

LYNNWOOD — Community Transit officials breathed a happy sigh of relief Monday upon learning a long-awaited $43.2 million federal grant is finally arriving.

Those dollars from the Federal Transit Administration will be used to complete construction of the Swift Green Line, Community Transit’s second bus rapid transit line that is scheduled to open early next year.

Congress approved the funding in May 2017. It is coming out of the federal agency’s Small Starts program through a competitive process. Small Starts is a component of the Capital Investment Grant program that President Donald Trump tried to eliminate but Congress resisted and funded instead.

“At times it has felt like we were running a marathon, but we’ve finally crossed the finish line,” Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath said.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell announced the release of funds in a joint statement.

“Snohomish County commuters just got a shot in the arm with more funding for Swift Bus Rapid Transit,” said Cantwell, a senior member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “By expanding this critical transit service, commuters can expect increased reliability, improved travel times, and ultimately less congestion.”

Community Transit is starting work on its Swift Green Line to connect the aerospace center at Paine Field and Boeing’s Everett plant with the Canyon Park technology hub in Bothell. (Community Transit map)

Community Transit is starting work on its Swift Green Line to connect the aerospace center at Paine Field and Boeing’s Everett plant with the Canyon Park technology hub in Bothell. (Community Transit map)

Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been pressuring the agency for months to free up the dollars. She also was involved in the negotiations to protect the grant program.

“As transit ridership increases, we must ensure our transportation systems are evolving to support our growing economy and keep our communities connected,” she said in the statement.

Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia lauded the senators for their efforts.

“They have been our allies in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “That’s been very helpful.”

When Swift buses started running on the Blue Line down Highway 99 in 2009, it was the first bus rapid transit line in the state. The final station on that line opened in early 2016 near the entrance to Edmonds Community College.

The Swift Green Line will be a 12.5-mile east-west route and intersect with the Swift Blue Line.

When complete, Swift Green Line buses will run every 10 minutes between Bothell-Canyon Park and Boeing-Paine Field along the Bothell-Everett Highway, 128th and 132nd Streets and Airport Road. There will be a total of 34 stations.

Community Transit actually got started on the project the same month Congress passed the 2017 federal budget with the critical grant.

The agency broke ground on the Seaway Transit Center, an $11 million project funded with a $6.9 million state grant plus different federal dollars and Community Transit funds. The center is expected to be completed this year.

Last fall the agency got to work on building future Green Line stations. It has been paying for the work with local dollars generated from the sales tax increase approved by voters in 2015.

Munguia said Community Transit only acted after receiving letters from the federal agency that essentially were promissory notes. Those letters authorized the transit agency to spend up to a certain amount of its own money with the understanding those dollars would be paid back with the grant, he said.

The agency was closing in on that maximum amount, he said.

“We haven’t been been at a point where we’re panicking. Unless the Federal Transit Administration gave us the grant or gave us another promissory note, we might have had to shut down the project,” he said. “But we’re not worried any more.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

More in News

In this file photo, marchers make their way from Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett on Feb. 26, 2017. Muslim refugees’ admissions into the U.S. have declined by 85 percent since the Trump administration came into power in 2017, according to the International Rescue Committee. Sound Publishing file photo
Report: Fewer refugees settling in U.S. and Washington state

Admissions are on pace to only reach around one-fifth of their limit in 2019.

PSE workers rebuild circuit 27 in North Kenmore. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Energy.
Kenmore council approves new agreement with PSE; power may finally be reliable again

A new agreement with PSE will help avoid future power outages for Kenmore businesses and residents.

Summer activities to enjoy on Kenmore’s 21st birthday

Two decades ago, the city was unrecognizable.

A high tide at Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Sound Publishing file photo
On the West Coast, Washington is most prone to sea level rise damage

Report by the Center for Climate Integrity shows multibillion-dollar cost of battling back the sea.

Edmonds man recently arrested for 1972 murder out on bail

Terrence Miller, 77, posted a bond of $750,000. He’s accused of killing 20-year-old Jody Loomis.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

Family of Edmonds man shot by deputy sues sheriff’s office

They argue that deadly force should not have been used against Nickolas Peters, 24, last October.

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

Most Read