$43M in fed’s proposal would go to Boeing-Bothell Swift bus

EVERETT — A new pledge of federal grant dollars should keep a second line of Community Transit’s Swift bus on schedule to start service in a couple of years.

The future Swift route would run from the Boeing Co.’s Everett plant to Canyon Park in Bothell. The rapid-transit bus route would be modeled after the existing Swift line that runs between downtown Everett and Shoreline’s Aurora Village via Highway 99.

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the 2017 fiscal year includes $43 million for the second Swift line.

“This is great news for Snohomish County,” Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath said in a press release. “While the funding isn’t guaranteed yet, inclusion in the President’s budget keeps us on track to open in fall 2018.”

The rapid transit bus is one of 31 transportation projects in 18 states recommended for grants in the coming federal budget year, which begins in October.

The money would come from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program through a competitive grant process. Community Transit had requested up to $50 million, said Martin Munguia, a spokesman for the transit agency.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the grant awards Wednesday. They depend on Congress passing a budget that keeps them in place.

Also in line for federal dollars is Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link extension, a planned 8.5-mile light-rail segment between Northgate and Lynnwood with stops in Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace. It received $125 million through the New Starts grant program, with an eventual $1.1 billion of grant funding recommended.

If all goes smoothly, construction to support the new Swift route would start early next year and last about 18 months. The design process for bus stops and sidewalk widening is now about a third complete, so the total budget is subject to change, Munguia said. The federal grant money should cover all or most of the capital costs.

The second Swift line has already benefited from a $6.8 million grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation. That money is slated for building the Seaway Transit Center, the northern terminal across the street from Boeing’s Everett factory. The future bus line also secured $10 million in state money for other capital costs and operations.

The 12-mile run would travel through Everett, Mill Creek and Bothell, using the Bothell-Everett Highway much of the trip. Buses would run every 10 minutes and stop at 15 stations in each direction.

Daily ridership is projected to reach about 3,300 people during the first year, Munguia said.

The future route would connect two job centers: an estimated 65,000 people who work in the industrial areas around the Boeing plant and Paine Field plus about 25,000 people who work in the Canyon Park area.

The future route would intersect with the original Swift line at Airport Road and Highway 99.

When the first Swift buses started running down Highway 99 in 2009, it was the first bus rapid transit line in the state. It now carries about 5,500 riders on an average weekday. The final station on the that line opened last week near the entrance to Edmonds Community College.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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