USDOT’s Build America Bureau to help finance $2 billion for Seattle Transit Projects

Updated Dec 30, 2016

USDOT United States Department of Transportation logoFour Seattle transit projects could get roughly $2 billion in financing through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau (BAB).

The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) and the BAB recently signed a Master Credit Agreement—“a first-of-its-kind arrangement in which the local transit authority will be able to expedite multiple loan requests under a single agreement with the federal government.” The first loan, for $615.3 million for the Northgate Link Extension, has been closed.

“This announcement demonstrates that the Build America Bureau is already playing a major role in how projects are planned and paid for by streamlining the financing process and bringing together valuable tools for accessing federal dollars. This means projects like the Northgate Link Extension Project can move forward more quickly and effectively,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are proud of the work done through the Bureau to speed investments needed in growing regions like the Pacific Northwest. This development is a big win for the entire region.”

An MCA is one tool the BAB offers “to help project sponsors streamline the process of applying for federal transportation infrastructure loans through the federal government’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs.”

This MCA signed by Sound Transit covers four separate projects approved by voters as part of the transit authority’s ST-2 program. “The MCA will dramatically streamline the application process for the next three projects, enabling Sound Transit to more easily apply for the loans for the Operations & Maintenance Satellite Facility: East; Lynnwood Extension; and Federal Way Link Extension projects.”

“With the use of a Master Credit Agreement, the Build America Bureau can now negotiate one deal with entities that have multiple projects in their pipeline to gain access to federal loans,” says Andrew Right, Acting Executive Director of the Build America Bureau. “This has tremendous potential to save time and resources for infrastructure developers and increases transparency for the many partners involved in making transportation safer, faster, and easier in the area.”