One of the first destinations for Biden Administration infrastructure money is Lynnwood, where Community Transit held groundbreaking ceremonies Tuesday for its Orange Line bus-rapid transit corridor.
The new route, to open in 2024, will connect Edmonds College to Lynnwood City Center Station, Mill Creek, and McCollum Park in South Everett. Riders can transfer to Sound Transit light rail in Lynnwood, rather than drive to park-and-ride stalls. Orange Line trips will also meet the Blue Line on Highway 99, and the Green Line between Bothell and Paine Field, creating a triangular network across south Snohomish County.
Voters were promised the Orange and Green lines in 2015, when they narrowly approved a sales-tax increase of 30 cents per $100 purchase.
The $79.4 million project is funded by a $37.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant, $27.6 million other federal dollars, $5 million state and $9.7 million local money.
“The federal government is all in, for 80% of this project. We believe in what you’re doing,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. The FTA rated it medium-high, to carry an estimated 3,400 daily passengers.
Others described an archetypal single mom going to a day care, people studying technical trades at the college and young adults, who could make essential trips without buying a car.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., lauded the $550 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which contains $39 billion for new transit projects. “There’s going to be a lot more federal capital-investment grants to build projects like this,” she said.
Fifteen new buses will serve 19 stations every 10 minutes during busy times, Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz said. The 11-mile route includes short bus lanes to skip clogged intersections; traffic signals timed to give transit a head start; and curbside payment kiosks.