Puget Sound’s Latest Major Transit Expansion Shows “Snohomish County Getting Ready for Growth,” Says Cantwell

Cantwell helped secure $37.1M in funding to speed construction of Community Transit’s Swift Orange Bus Rapid Transit Line

LYNNWOOD, WA —U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, called for increased investment in public transit as she joined Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representatives Rick Larsen (D, WA-02) and Suzan DelBene (D, WA-01), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez, and Governor Jay Inslee at the groundbreaking of Community Transit’s newest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

“We know that Snohomish County is one of the fastest-growing parts of our state. It grew 37% over the last 20 years and by 2040 we expect to have 1 million people living here in Snohomish County,” said Cantwell. “Investing in [the] Orange Line bus rapid transit system is Snohomish County getting ready for the growth that we know is going to happen in our region.”

The new transit line, the Swift Orange Line, will be the first BRT to light rail connection in Snohomish County. In 2019, Cantwell wrote a letter of supportfor Community Transit to receive $37 million from the FTA Capital Investment Small Starts grant program. 

According to Community Transit, the Swift Orange Line will provide a direct connection between the two existing Swift lines and the Lynnwood Link light rail station scheduled to open in 2024. The Swift Orange Line will serve as a key route connecting Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood City Center, Alderwood Mall, and Mill Creek Town Center. It is also scheduled to open in 2024.

“People from Mill Creek, Lynnwood, and Edmonds will be able to get this reliable service, leaving every 10-12 minutes, taking them to Seattle in about 28 minutes,” said Cantwell. “And that is the reliable service they deserve.” 

The $37 million grant that is helping Community Transit start construction now is part of the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) championed by Cantwell. In the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, Cantwell led the charge to fund the program at a historic $8 billion in advanced appropriations, or $1.6 billion annually. Then, in the 2022 Omnibus spending bill in Congress earlier this year, Cantwell helped win an additional appropriation of $2.3 billion for the CIG program.

As a result, there is $3.9 billion in CIG funding available for 2022, an 88.7% increase from last year.

Earlier this month, Senator Cantwell announced $370 million in federal funding for Washington state transit agencies from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The funding amount represented a 33.7% increase over last year.

As the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Cantwell has long been a champion of investment in Washington state’s transportation infrastructure and has helped secure federal funding for important infrastructure and transit expansion projects throughout the state. Cantwell has been a strong supporter of robust increases to competitive transit grant programs such as the Capital Investment Grant Program, the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program, the Bus and Bus Facilities Grant Program, and the Passenger Ferry Grant Program.