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Project Profile: East Link Extension

East Link Extension

photo credit: Sound Transit


Seattle, Washington Metropolitan Area

Project Borrower / Sponsor

Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority d/b/a "Sound Transit"

Program Areas

Project FinanceValue CaptureTIFIA

Value Capture Techniques Sales Tax Districts

Light Rail Transit / Managed Lanes


The East Link Extension is a 14.5-mile Light Rail Transit (LRT) line that will provide east-west connections from the Eastside's largest population and employment centers to downtown Seattle. On the east shore of Lake Washington, the new line will extend from Redmond to South Bellevue, where it will join the alignment of I-90 and continue to Mercer Island and downtown Seattle via the I-90 floating bridge. The new LRT line will terminate at the International District/Chinatown station, where onward connections are available to the Central Link Light Rail line running between downtown and Sea-Tac International Airport.

The project also includes the I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project, which will provide eight miles of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes across both sides of the I-90 Floating Bridge. This aspect of the project improves transit and HOV reliability using existing right-of-way, without widening the I-90 floating bridge. The project also will replace the fire/life/safety systems located in the Mt. Baker tunnels connecting to the I-90 Floating Bridge, as well as seismic retrofits that will improve the earthquake resistance of the floating bridge.


$4.031 billion
(East Link Extension - $3.805 billion; I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations [Sound Transit contribution] - $225.6 million)

Funding Sources

Contribution from cash balances - $281.4 million

Sound Transit tax revenue - $1.086 billion

Grant revenue - Federal/local - $88.7 million

Bond proceeds - $1.060 billion

TIFIA loan - $1.330 billion

City of Bellevue - $184.5 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Multiple contract delivery methods

Private Partner


Project Advisors / Consultants

Piper Jaffray - Financial Advisor

Foster Pepper PLLC - Counsel to the Borrower


  • TIFIA Financial Advisor - Taylor-DeJongh and Booz Allen Hamilton
  • TIFIA Legal Advisor - Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

Bondholders, USDOT TIFIA

Duration / Status

Construction of the East Link Extension began in April 2016 and is expected to be complete in 2023.

Construction on the I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations project is being completed in stages (2008, 2012, and mid-2017)

TIFIA Credit Assistance

Direct Loan - $1.33 billion

The TIFIA loan will be repaid through pledge of sales and rental car taxes.

Financial Status

The TIFIA credit agreement was executed on January 16, 2015. Financial close occurred on January 16, 2015.

  • The project combines funding from a large and varied number of stakeholders.
  • USDOT awarded Sound Transit a $14 million TIGER grant, which will be used to support the $225.6 million HOV component of the project.
  • The City of Bellevue has committed $185 million in cost sharing to support the construction of a tunnel in downtown Bellevue.
  • $2.2 billion in local funding is provided in Sound Transit 2 Bonds leveraging a voter approved revenue measure passed in 2008.
  • As part of the Spring District Transit-Oriented Development, the real estate developer Wright Runstad & Company will invest approximately $50 million in public infrastructure improvements adjacent to the East Link 120th Street Station. Other private sector support is expected from Su Development, Microsoft, Boeing, T-Mobile, Bellevue College and Groups Health.
Related Links / Articles

Sound Transit East Link Extension Project Website

Sound Transit 2: A Mass Transit Guide - The Regional Transit System Plan for Central Puget Sound

Sound Transit ST2 Plan and Project List

City of Bellevue Light Rail

Washington State DOT I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations Project Website


Abby Chazanow
Community Outreach Specialist
Tel: (206) 903-7326

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