Future Renton, Tukwila transit centers get millions in federal funding

The rapid bus transit centers are intended to help reduce congestion along the I-405 corridor.

On March 13, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, announced that Sound Transit will receive $69,830,356 to build new transit centers in Renton and Tukwila that serve the Stride S1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line.

The cities of Tacoma and Seattle also received planning grants, the senator announced.

“Faster, more reliable transit along the congested I-405 corridor is coming soon,” said Sen. Cantwell in a statement regarding the funding. “At the two new stations supported by this funding, Tukwila and Renton residents will be able to board new double-decker electric buses to speed them to jobs, schools, or services between Burien and Bellevue, with departures planned every 10-15 minutes.”

The $69.8 million in funding for the transit centers comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Neighborhood Access and Equity Program, which was established under the Inflation Reduction Act. In November 2023, Sen. Cantwell sent a letter to DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of Sound Transit’s grant application.

The South Renton Transit Center will be part of a community hub within a 2-acre Transit Oriented Development site. The BRT station will support the new Stride BRT and existing King County Metro Rapid Ride service, along with other existing express and local lines. The station will make traveling by bus easy and accessible with transit signal prioritization, bus-only lanes, 108 bike parking spaces, and crosswalks and sidewalks for pedestrians.

The transit center is estimated to serve 2,700 daily riders — 27 percent of the 10,000 daily riders on the S1 BRT line.

The Tukwila International Boulevard Stride (TIBS) BRT Station will include new pedestrian bridges over State Route 518 connecting the new BRT station to the existing TIBS light rail station, two in-line BRT platforms on SR 518, and construction of bus-only lanes on SR 518. The station is estimated to have 3,000 daily riders — 30 percent of the 10,000 daily riders on the S1 BRT line.

Both stations are along the planned Stride S1 Bus Rapid Transit line, which will run every 10-15 minutes along SR 518 and I-405 between Burien and Bellevue. The line will feature the agency’s first battery electric buses.

Seattle is also getting funding from DOT under the Neighborhood Access and Equity Program, and Tacoma is getting funding from DOT under the agency’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, which was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development will receive $2,000,000 to advance the Downtown Seattle I-5 Lid project, a grassroots initiative to address both the environmental harms caused by Interstate 5 and the shortage of public land needed to support a growing population. The project has the potential to offer additional land for park space and affordable housing in the neighborhoods next to I-5. In November 2023, Sen. Cantwell sent a letter to DOT Secretary Buttigieg in support of the City of Seattle’s grant application.

The City of Tacoma will receive $1,300,000 for its I-5 Crossings Study, which will identify improvements necessary for people to safely travel across I-5, as well as opportunities to build new public spaces and increase the city’s tree canopy.