“We look at public transportation as connecting people to opportunity.”
SoundTransit’s wide range of transportation options – from the Link light rail to the Sounder train, to the SoundTransit Express Bus – carries riders and commuters through the Puget Sound, Seattle, and Tacoma areas. SoundTransit’s most popular lines bring locals and tourists alike to event spaces, airports, and fun destinations: ranging from the Taylor Swift Eras Tour concert to Seattle Mariners baseball games.
To better serve their community, SoundTransit is undergoing a large expansion – funded by Capital Investment Grants (CIG). These expansions extend routes, update modes of transportation, and provide more opportunities for extra transit during special events.
These federally funded efforts bring economic growth to the Seattle Region by providing more jobs in transit, construction development, and other industries. The expanded service also helps connect Washington’s cities and towns, allowing people to find jobs and opportunities outside of their immediate community.
Expanded public transit creates more than just new bus lines – it also helps create entirely new communities from the ground up. Once construction staging land isn’t needed anymore, if Sound Transit owns surplus properties, it must offer at least 80% of those properties to nonprofit developers, jurisdictions, or housing authorities to build affordable housing. Sound Transit can discount properties to as low as zero dollars to help make this possible. The affordable homes created are conveniently connected to the jobs and services accessible through public transit. Recently, the first affordable housing high-rise building in 50 years opened on Sound Transit donated land. Another formerly Sound Transit-owned construction staging site is being temporarily leased at no cost for a tiny home village for people previously experiencing homelessness, until it is permanently redeveloped as affordable housing.
“In Seattle, it’s important to have affordable housing because we’re one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and a lot of people are being priced out of the market. These transit-oriented developments allow people to remain in their neighborhoods and be connected to transit hubs in the state,” said John Gallagher, Media Relations Manager for SoundTransit.
Of course, one consequence of their significant expansion efforts has been an increase in construction. That’s why SoundTransit is encouraging riders to shop at locally owned businesses impacted by construction through their “Loyal to Local” program: transforming short-term inconvenience into long-term customer bases. By expanding public transit to more communities and prompting riders to take public transit to support local businesses, SoundTransit is helping neighborhoods flourish.
Through a combination of community engagement, local investment and federal funding, SoundTransit provides valuable services and expanded opportunities to riders, businesses and communities. Continued funding for transit-oriented development will boost Washington’s economic growth for years to come.
*Visit the Federal Transit Administration’s CIG dashboard to explore the public transportation projects and programs fueled by Capital Investment Grants.