Cantwell, Murray, McMorris Rodgers Announce Major Federal Investment for Spokane’s Central City Line

Multi-million dollar award will fund eastern Washington’s first bus rapid transit route through the core of Spokane, providing reliable transit service from Browne’s Addition to Spokane Community College

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5th) announced a major federal grant award today that will make significant new investments to increase public transit options in Spokane. The grant, totaling more than $53 million, was awarded to the Spokane Transit Authority through the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts grant program, and will fund the completion of Spokane’s Central City Line Bus Rapid Transit service.

The new Central City Line, the first Bus Rapid Transit route in Eastern Washington, will link the historic neighborhood of Browne’s Addition to Spokane Community College, with connections to downtown Spokane, the University District, and Gonzaga University. The award will also fund the purchase of ten new low-emission electric buses, providing frequent service through the core of Spokane with longer operating hours and weekend service. The project is estimated to generate more than $175 million in economic impact through surrounding land improvements.

“With buses set to run at least every 15 minutes, the new Spokane City Central Line will put the pedal to the metal for connecting commuters and students to downtown, the University District, and Gonzaga,” said Senator Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. 

“The Central City Line will connect residents, students and commuters with some of the city’s most important neighborhoods—providing clean, efficient, and reliable transit service to families throughout Spokane and the surrounding area—and I’m glad to see these federal investments flow to Eastern Washington,” said Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “These are exactly the types of forward-thinking proposals the CIG program is meant to support, and I will continue working to ensure transportation and infrastructure priorities for families east of the Cascades remain top of mind in the other Washington.” 

“This is great news for everyone in Spokane,” said Representative McMorris Rodgers. “Not only will the full grant funding of the Central City Line help further connect Spokane with the surrounding areas and provide reliable public transportation services to the entire community, but it will also bring an estimated $175 million in economic impact here in Eastern Washington. This is a win for Spokane and I was proud to work with Senators Murray and Cantwell to make it happen.” 

The Spokane Central City Line will link important employment and education centers in Spokane with surrounding neighborhoods. The corridor encompasses 17 percent of the regional employment, six institutions of higher education with 27,000 students, thousands of residents, and major recreational and cultural attractions. The Central City Line will help support Spokane’s projected population growth and job creation, while providing efficient public transportation for local residents and businesses. All three Members of Congress have fought to strengthen investments in the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program, which supports public transportation projects in communities across the United States, and were strong supporters of Spokane Transit Authority’s efforts to secure additional federal funding to implement the Central City Line.