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Major Funding Milestone Achieved – Seattle Receives $59.9 Million in Federal Funding to Construct Madison Bus Rapid Transit—RapidRide G Line

The new route creates a faster, more frequent, and safer public transit line connecting densely developed neighborhoods in Downtown, First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central Area, and Madison Valley 

SEATTLE (April 5, 2021) – To build the city of the future and meet the infrastructure demands of the fastest growing large city of the previous decade, Seattle cannot do it alone. Today the Federal Transit Administration allocated $59.9 million in Small Starts Grant funding, or 45% of the total Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, to the City of Seattle. While the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has built many significant infrastructure projects of similar scope, this is the first supported by funds of this kind. This strong federal partnership plays a central role in funding this critical project, it also would not be possible without the additional funding provided by the voter-approved Levy to Move Seattle and Capital Improvement Program agreements with Sound Transit.  

The new route will connect people to hospitals, schools and universities, and businesses as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal. The project is a partnership between the SDOT and King County Metro Transit (Metro). Metro will operate service on Madison Street as the RapidRide G Line. If all goes as planned, construction is expected to start this year. 

 “While Seattle builds the best transit and transportation infrastructure in the country, support from our federal partners has become even more critical,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “After unfortunate delays by the last administration, Senator Murray, Secretary Buttigieg, and the federal delegation have prioritized projects that are good for Seattle, good for jobs, and good for transit. Senator Murray has been relentless to support this critical project and other City and regional priorities. As we deal with the effects of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to invest in a transportation system that gets our frontline workers, historically underserved communities and communities of color where they need to go quickly and reliably.”  

“This good news will help ensure frequent, high-quality transit service the full length of the busy Madison corridor – from Downtown Seattle and First Hill, to the Madison Valley and Lake Washington,” said County Executive Dow Constantine. “The future G line will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take cars off the road, and expand opportunity through safe, accessible, and reliable service.” 

“Seattle supports transit and our federal partners funding bus service on the Madison corridor is an affirmation that we are on the right track,” said Seattle Councilmember Andrew Lewis. “We are excited to create a fast, frequent bus line connecting the dense neighborhoods of District 7 to Capitol Hill and Madison Valley reducing congestion and our carbon footprint.” 

“Sound Transit was proud to commit $35.8 million in Sound Transit 3 funds to this partnership with the City of Seattle and the Federal Transit Administration,” said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. “The Madison Bus Rapid Transit project will provide a fast and efficient connection to the Link Light Rail system at the same time as we are expanding the system to the North, South and East.” 

“Despite the challenges of a global pandemic and recession our transportation agencies continue to deliver excellent projects to the people who depend on transit,” said Transportation Choices Coalition Executive Director Alex Hudson. “The Madison Bus Rapid Transit line gives people in these dense and growing neighborhoods choices when they travel. These are safe, efficient, and affordable choices that together will support healthy and connected communities.”  

“I know so many friends who move to Capitol Hill so they don’t have to drive to work and they need fast public transportation,” said Pony Bar owner Mark Stoner. “The Madison Bus Rapid Transit line is going to make it easier to get to work on time and to pop back home without slogging through rush hour gridlock. Plus, when you’re meeting your friends out for a drink on Capitol Hill after work, nobody wants to be late for happy hour!”  

“Strong partnerships help us deliver tangible results for communities,” said SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe. “We thank the Federal Transit Administration for allocating critical funding to this project. The Madison Bus Rapid Transit line will be transformational; it will connect people and places efficiently, safely, and reliably. This is a clear example of Seattle voters’ Levy investment working hard to provide transportation choices in our community. Together, we’re working to ensure people can get to where they work and live and have access to the important services they need.”  

“This is funding that allows us to continue to grow our regional mobility system and support this vital East-West corridor,” said King County Metro Deputy General Manager Michelle Allison. “I look forward to our continued partnership with the city of Seattle in expanding mobility for the communities we serve.” 

Now that funding has been allocated, the next step is for the Federal Transit Administration to execute the grant agreement with SDOT. After the grant is executed and a contractor is on board, SDOT will  start construction and the Madison BRT line is expected to be operating in 2024.