A Community Transit bus drives underneath Sound Transit’s Link Lynnwood City Center Station on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A Community Transit bus drives underneath Sound Transit’s Link Lynnwood City Center Station on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Expect a save the date for Lynnwood light rail ‘within a couple of weeks’

Meanwhile, a $250.7 million federal boost will help Sound Transit pay off loans faster for the Lynnwood Link.

LYNNWOOD — Sound Transit received the last push it needed to fully fund its Lynnwood light rail extension, securing $250.7 million in federal grants in a package signed by President Joe Biden last week.

Two light rail stations are planned for Lynnwood. The City Center Station is located on the west side of I-5, right along the Interurban Trail between 44th Avenue W and 200th Street SW. The West Alderwood Station — set to open in 2037 — doesn’t have an official location yet, near Alderwood Mall.

Lynnwood’s first light rail station is expected to be the busiest stop when it opens, with almost 17,900 riders daily, city Development and Business Services Director David Kleitsch said earlier this month. An official opening date for the new Lynnwood City Center Station could come “within the next couple of weeks,” Sound Transit spokesperson David Jackson said. Officials have said it would open around fall, but haven’t announced a specific date.

The City Center Station is about 90% complete, so the grant will help pay off loans used to complete the extension, reducing debt and saving Sound Transit money on interest, Jackson said Tuesday. The money is the final installment of the $1.2 billion in federal grants allocated to Sound Transit in 2018 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Capital Investment Grant program.

The 8½-mile stretch of rail between Northgate and Lynnwood cost $3.12 billion.

The remaining money for the project comes from Sound Transit taxes, bonds and federal transportation loans.

Along with money for the light rail, Washington received a total $4.79 billion Saturday in a multi-bill package with money for agriculture, environmental rehabilitation, renewable energy, tribes and more. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, celebrated the funding in a floor speech Thursday.

“I have to say — House Republicans wanted to cut funding for public transit in their bill to a level where the Lynnwood Link simply would not have had the federal dollars it needed to get done,” said Murray, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In her State of the City address earlier this month, Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell said she expects the arrival of light rail to transform the city.

People listen to speakers at the Lynnwood State of the City event on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

People listen to speakers at the Lynnwood State of the City event on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“There are times when it’s hard to believe that this is the same city I grew up in,” Frizzell said. “There has been much change, and as you have heard, there is more change on the horizon and change can be challenging. It can be frustrating, and it can even be a little scary.”

The city’s next station will likely be about 2 miles north of the first, but it will take an estimated 13 years to complete. The Alderwood station is technically part of the Everett Link extension, which is still in its infancy. Everett Link stations are expected to open between 2037 and 2041.

“We are grateful for the Federal government’s continued financial investments, which support our region’s commitment to public transit and will help our communities thrive for years to come,” Frizzell said in an email. “We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the next phase of this vital system.”

Mayor of Lynnwood Christine Frizzell speaks at the Lynnwood State of the City event on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mayor of Lynnwood Christine Frizzell speaks at the Lynnwood State of the City event on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Service for Community Transit’s new Swift Orange Line, as well as three new bus lines, begins March 30. The new bus line bridges Edmonds College, Mill Creek Town Center and Alderwood Mall.

Eventually, the light rail will feed into what is planned to be a pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented city center, something the city currently lacks.

The proposed city center is a 1.2-square-mile plot near the southwest intersection of I-5 and I-405, according to city documents. The new station is also near several parks and trails, increasing access to green space.

For over a decade, the City Center station will be the last stop in the light rail line until other stations open, bringing an influx of people to shop, work and live in Lynnwood, City Council member George Hurst said.

Following the light rail’s path north, a 13-acre plot of land known as the The District is another proposed town center near the Lynnwood Event Center. The development includes plans for 450 new homes, green space, a parking garage, a hotel, a movie theater and more. This is set to be closer to the proposed West Alderwood Station.

Hurst is optimistic about what light rail will mean for Lynnwood.

“I think this will be a time where Lynnwood will thrive,” Hurst said. “It seems to be possibly a daunting time for some folks, but I think it’s going to be a time of growth and excitement for our city.”

Ashley Nash: 425-339-3037; ashley.nash@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @ash_nash00.

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