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Latest bus line intends to connect Snohomish County to future light rail route

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(The Center Square) – Snohomish County is one step closer to becoming a more connected region after the Swift Orange Line began service on April 1.

Community Transit’s Swift Orange Line will provide bus services linking 13 stops through 11 miles. The project also features a new transit center at Edmonds College and a redesigned transit center at McCollum Park & Ride.

The agency’s Swift Orange Line was budgeted $83 million, but according to Community Transit, the project was completed under budget.

The agency’s 2024 budget included $26.2 million for the Swift Orange Line. This covers final construction and launch for the line.

Out of the $83 million, $10 million stemmed from a local sales tax that was approved by Snohomish County voters. The tax rate is 1.2%, including a 0.3% rate that the state allows for public transportation systems in counties of over 700,000. Sales tax is Community Transit’s main source of revenue.

The largest funding source was $68 million that stemmed from federal funding.

Other funding for the Swift Orange Line includes $37.2 million from Capital Investment Grant funds, $6.5 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and $5 million as part of the Connecting Washington package.

According to a Community Transit press release, the agency’s third transit line will provide a “premier bus-to-light rail connection in Snohomish County when the Link light rail extends to Lynnwood later this year.”

“We are eagerly looking forward to Link light rail arriving in Lynnwood later this year where it will connect with Swift service,” Community Transit Board Chair and City of Snohomish Council President Tom Merrill said in a statement. “With it comes opportunity – with light rail in place we can improve local service for our residents by redeploying the nearly one third of our service currently dedicated to commuting to downtown Seattle.”

The Swift Orange Line will begin services starting at 4:15 on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays and 7 a.m. on Sundays. Buses expect to run every 10 minutes on weekdays, and every 15–20 minutes on early mornings, evenings, and weekends.

“Everyone deserves reliable, affordable transportation and when the mobility of our community increases, we see our economy grow and thrive right along with it,” Washington State Senator Marko Liias said. “The Swift Orange Line is especially exciting because it means everyone will have the opportunity to get around more efficiently, no matter what their circumstances are.”