Sound Transit earns Climate Challenge award from FTA

SEATTLE, Wash., April 22, 2022 – Sound Transit celebrated Earth Day by earning a Climate Challenge award from the Federal Transit Administration for its sustainability efforts, as well as a call-out by President Biden during his visit to Seattle today.

The FTA Climate Challenge Award called out Sound Transit’s sustainability work under the category of “Most Transformative,” recognizing Sound Transit’s Sustainability Plan for “demonstrating sustainability throughout the agency, including fleets, facilities and operations.”

“By helping people efficiently and affordably get where they need to go, public transit plays a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a news release highlighting the accomplishments of Sound Transit and nine other agencies around the country that received other sustainability honors — including an award for King County Metro Transit.

King County Metro won the Most Equitable category for developing a plan focused on addressing climate change impacts and transportation access in underserved communities.

During his Earth Day visit to Seattle, President Joe Biden recognized Sound Transit in a speech delivered at Seward Park. At the 10:30 mark, he called out that his proposed FY2023 Budget triples the agency’s expected 2023 funding level under previously awarded grants for the Lynnwood and Federal Way light rail extensions. Accelerating $516.6 million in previously awarded funding would create more than $40 million in borrowing savings for regional taxpayers that can be applied to other voter-approved extensions to places like Tacoma, Everett, West Seattle, Ballard, South Kirkland and Issaquah. The president also recognized that Sound Transit operates the first light rail system in the nation to be operated with 100% carbon-free energy.

“It’s hard to imagine a prouder way to celebrate Earth Day than being recognized by President Biden and the Federal Transit Administration,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Our dedication to helping our region address climate change means that we strive to make each day Earth Day. I want to thank our dedicated environmental team, and every Sound Transit department, for seeking creative and ambitious ways to improve our sustainability. And we thank every rider for the contributions they make when they board our trains and buses.”

Sound Transit’s sustainability plan is implemented in part through an internationally certified (ISO 14001) Environmental and Sustainability Management System. The system provides a framework under which Sound Transit holds itself accountable, with regular independent audits, for controlling environmental impacts, maintaining environmental compliance and demonstrating performance improvement. The program was created under Sound Transit’s industry-leading environmental policy. Sound Transit’s carbon-free light rail system is a step toward the agency’s goal of attaining entirely carbon-free operations by 2050.

Sound Transit will continue its work to maintain and expand strong federal partnerships for completing its critical expansions under challenging market conditions.

Sound Transit’s light rail expansions are supported by nearly $2 billion in FTA grants for reaching Lynnwood and Federal Way, as well as the United States Department of Transportation’s largest-ever package of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans. The loans are creating more than $500 million in savings for regional taxpayers.

Information on Sound Transit expansions is available at https://www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion.

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