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Seattle Receives $64.2 million in Federal Funds for RapidRide J Project

Seattle – Today, Mayor Harrell joined Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez, Senator Patty Murray, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and other local leaders to celebrate the FTA award of $64.2 million for the construction of the RapidRide J Line project. This project will enhance bus access, reliability, frequency, and station amenities, make proven safety improvements, and upgrade critical infrastructure.

“As Seattle works to build the best transit and transportation infrastructure in the country, we appreciate the support from our federal partners,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Congresswoman Jayapal have prioritized projects that are good for Seattle, good for jobs, and good for transit. Our federal delegation has been relentless in their support of this critical project and other City and regional priorities. Seattle continues to invest in transportation options and infrastructure that provides riders with quick, reliable, and dependable service.”

The RapidRide J Line project is a partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro which will upgrade King County Metro’s Route 70 with improved service. This is one of the most used routes in Seattle and is a vital connection between downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and the University District. The project will also install protected bike lanes and other proven safety enhancements. The City will also plant over 100 new trees and build utility upgrades including a new watermain at the same time as Eastlake Ave E is being repaved. Service operations are slated to begin in 2027.

“As Seattle continues to grow, the RapidRide J Line will provide speedy service for commuters as well as generations of UW Huskies and area residents still to come,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Bus Rapid Transit routes have been transforming communities across the country with fast, frequent service along key economic corridors, and we are pleased to add Seattle to the growing list of communities benefiting from America’s largest ever investment in high-quality public transportation.”

The total project budget is $128.5 million, including $64.2 million from the FTA Small Starts Grant and an additional $9.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration. In addition to the federal funding, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the University of Washington will each contribute $6 million to the project. The City will provide $43 million, mostly from the Levy to Move Seattle. Seattle Public Utilities also plans to invest an additional $28 million to build a new water main, which will be completed at the same time but is considered a separate project. In addition to providing daily bus service, Metro is contributing over $10 million toward station amenities and staff resources.

“People continue to make one thing clear here in Seattle and across Washington state—they want more public transit. That’s why I work really hard, year after year, to give the people what they want, and to secure as much funding for the Capital Investment Grants program—which is supporting this project—as I am able. And I was glad to successfully deliver a major infusion into the program through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as well,” Senator Murray said at the press conference today. “I look forward to watching this project put these federal funds to work, and I am going to make sure we keep moving forward in the other Washington too—where I’m fighting every day as Appropriations chair for investments in public transit like this that make a real difference in our state.”

The RapidRide J Line project would not be possible without the support of the Levy to Move Seattle, passed by Seattle voters in 2015. One of the ways in which the Levy to Move Seattle amplifies the value of tax dollars is by helping to leverage funding from other regional, state, and federal transit agencies, making it possible for SDOT to accomplish more than would have been possible with local funding alone.

“The RapidRide J Line expands King County’s high-capacity transit network. We’re connecting growing communities with fast, frequent service to get people where they want to be, when they want to be there,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “From light rail to the Streetcar to the Water Taxi, RapidRide lines and more, we are building a truly integrated mobility system, with the partnerships that can make this ambitious vision real.”

The RapidRide J Line is one of many major transit investments the Levy to Move Seattle is delivering to create a more connected city since being passed by voters in 2016. Other major transit investments include the Madison St – Rapid Ride G line which received nearly $60 million in federal funding, the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line and other Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridors throughout Seattle. The Rapid Ride J line will pass over the newly rebuilt Fairview Ave N Bridge, another key Levy to Move Seattle project which was completed in 2021.

What People Are Saying

“Improvements to the RapidRide J Line will help to connect our city and make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden and Democrats, we passed the Infrastructure Law which is making once-in-a-generation investments into projects across the country, just like this one. I’m so thrilled to see $64.2 million coming to Seattle to keep our city moving more reliably, efficiently, and safely!”

“Riders and community members consistently tell us that what matters to them is frequent, reliable, and safe transit,” said King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison. “This FTA grant upgrades and delivers RapidRide J Line improvements to serve people better.”

“RapidRide J will make it reliable, safer and more attractive to ride the bus or bike from downtown to the University District, strengthening a regionally significant connection,” said SDOT Director Greg Spotts. “We are making major investments to seven of Seattle’s critical bus routes thanks to the Levy to Move Seattle, and are thankful to the Federal Transit Administration, Secretary Buttigieg, Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Congresswoman Jayapal for recognizing and funding this effort.”

“Seattle City Light is a Roosevelt RapidRide J-Line program partner with SDOT. City Light looks forward to providing streetlight support through a $5 M SDOT and City Light agreement in addition to approximately 45 service requests including bus stops shelters and traffic signals,” said Seattle City Light Director of Capital Projects Delivery Tamara Jenkins. “We look forward to a competitive public works bidding process and being a program delivery partner.”