SEATTLE - This weekend caps huge milestones for public transit in Seattle and beyond: Sound Transit Link light rail opens three new stations Saturday morning, expanding service from Husky Stadium to Northgate.
In addition, King County Metro and Seattle Department of Transportation will soon expand the RapidRide bus service with a new ‘G’ line, tying Seattle’s most dense neighborhoods into a growing transportation network.
Bus Rapid Transit first kicked off in our region nearly 10 years ago. The RapidRide G line comes online in 2024. The feds are picking a large portion of the project’s cost. Until the line is operational, Madison Street will be a sea of construction.
"It’s so much more than physical point to a point for all of us," said Terry White. "I grew up on transit."
White knows the transformational power of mobility. He has been riding the bus since he was a kid and has worked for King County Metro for decades. Today he is the agency’s general manager. His vision aims to lift others with opportunity by ensuring access to affordable transportation.
"Mobility has to be a human right," he said. "We are making sure we don’t leave anyone behind."
Seattle Department of Transportation announced Thursday officially that the RapidRide G line is set to soon begin construction. The route will move passengers between downtown Seattle along Madison Street all the way to Madison Valley. During peak commutes, buses will arrive every six minutes thanks to dedicated travel lanes and priority signals.
When voters approved the 2015 Move Seattle levy, tax dollars were slated to cover some of the cost. The Federal Transit Administration pays for nearly $60 million, Sound Transit pitches in more than $35 million to help bring passengers towards Link light rail.
"Everybody here who is transit-dependent knows that the east-west connections have always been the toughest in Seattle," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Construction along Madison Street is required so the roadway can handle the new busses. Worries over funding initially delayed the line’s completion until 2024 and pushed the final cost past $130 million.
Without the assistance of federal dollars, President Joe Biden’s administration says projects like the G line may never have a chance to reach those needing help getting around.
"Communities are not able to raise the dollars they need to replace, not only to maintain investments they have made," said Fernandez. "But, also to pursue new extensions and building better their existing investments."
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