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Sound Transit, DOT Develop 'Master Credit Agreement'; Tool Will Provide Nearly $2 B for Four Projects

Sound Transit in Seattle recently entered into a $1.99 billion master credit agreement (MCA) with DOT’s Build America Bureau, which will allow the agency to manage loans for multiple projects under a single agreement with an expected long-term savings of between $200 million and $300 million.

“Building a mass transit network that connects all corners of a growing region is a monumental task,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation stretches our transit dollars even further, helping us meet the demand for fast, reliable light rail and express bus service.”

The MCA covers four separate projects approved by voters as part of the authority’s ST-2 program. In addition to a TIFIA loan of $615.3 million for the 4.3-mile Northgate Link Extension, the agreement will streamline the application process for loans of $657.9 million for the Lynnwood Link Extension, $629.5 million for the Federal Way Link Extension and $87.7 million for the Operations and Maintenance Satellite Facility, East.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx called the MCA “a big win” for the region. “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,” Foxx said.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “As Puget Sound continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to invest in smart, efficient transportation systems that meet the needs of workers, families and the local economy. I’m proud to support programs that can create jobs and save Washington State taxpayers money at the same time.”

The savings are forecast to accrue over the loans’ 35-year lives and are in relation to the borrowing costs assumed in Sound Transit’s financial plan. The loans improve the agency’s long-term financial outlook and reduce risks associated with completing regional transit projects approved by voters in both 2008 and 2016.

The MCA is one tool offered by the Build America Bureau, launched in 2016 as a centralized service for state and municipal governments to fund infrastructure projects and help streamline the process of applying for TIFIA and RRIF loans.
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