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Sound Transit projects may be altered, modified if feds cut funding

(File, Associated Press)

President Trump’s proposed budget delivered a nasty surprise to Sound Transit, cutting the federal funding to extend light rail to Lynnwood.

Snohomish County Executive and Sound Transit Chair Dave Somers says he is hopeful that Trump will follow through with his promise to build critical infrastructure. Somers considers light rail in our region to be a “critical piece” of our infrastructure.

Somers says Sound Transit has advocates on its side, such as Sen. Patty Murray, who can help secure funding for the light rail project.

But if the federal government does cut more than $1 billion in funding to Sound Transit, Somers admits Sound Transit may have to alter the schedule for its projects or modify them. He says the agency would look for savings wherever it could.

Right now, there isn’t much of a contingency plan.

“We haven’t really talked about that yet,” Somers said. “I think it would be very difficult to make those dollars up.”

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He says the agency will do “everything we can” to make Sound Transit 2 and Sound Transit 3 a reality.

“If the federal dollars don’t come through we’ll just have to see where else we can go and what our options are. But we’re not at that point yet,” he added.

The Northgate-Lynnwood Light rail extension, which is scheduled to open in 2023, would lose $1.17 billion – which would have covered half the cost of the project. The Federal Way extension would lose about $500,000.

The CEOs of Sound Transit and The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority issued a statement in opposition to the Administration’s proposed cuts to transit funding programs on Thursday.

“The administration’s assertion that our regions can deliver transit solutions for our citizens without federal partnership is uninformed, misguided, and unfair,” the statement reads.

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