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Local and national leaders celebrate the start of construction for the new Madison - RapidRide

Local and national leaders celebrate the start of construction for the new Madison - RapidRide G Line, which will connect some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods with frequent, reliable transit in 2024

Public transportation leaders and elected officials stand side-by-side with community representatives to celebrate the start of construction on the Madison - RapidRide G Line project at a groundbreaking event in Seattle. Service begins in 2024.

Seattle (September 30, 2021) – Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine welcomed Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez to Seattle today, as they joined other local leaders and congressional delegates at a groundbreaking event to celebrate the start of construction on the Madison - RapidRide G Line. This bus rapid transit (BRT) project is one of Seattle’s biggest projects within the Levy to Move Seattle. When the RapidRide G Line opens in 2024, it will connect some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods with frequent, reliable transit.

The Madison - RapidRide G Line is a partnership between Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), King County Metro and

Sound Transit. It will create a frequent and reliable public transportation line between 1st Ave and Martin Luther King Jr Way. The route will serve dense neighborhoods in downtown Seattle, First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and Madison Valley. It will connect people to hospitals, schools and universities, and businesses as well as to dozens of bus routes, the First Hill Streetcar, the West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi at Pier 50, and ferry service at the Colman Dock Ferry Terminal.

Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez shares remarks with the media at today’s groundbreaking event in Seattle.

The improved bus route will connect to transit across the region including light rail, ferries, and regional bus lines. A detailed map of the project and how it will connect with Seattle’s larger Transit-Plus Multimodal Network is available online.

Map of the Madison – RapidRide G Line route in Seattle. Starting in 2024, rapid service will run between 1st Ave and Martin Luther King Jr Way.

The project will build new sidewalks, repave the street, and change the lane layout to make the bus more reliable, accessible, and easier to get to. The City will build curb ramps, add streetlights, and build five new traffic signals with crosswalks to make it safer and more comfortable for people to get to and from bus stops. A complete list of all the many project benefits is available on the project web page, including detailed renderings of the final designs.

Conceptual renderings of the future Madison – RapidRide G Line corridor, upon its completion in 2024.

The project would not be possible without the support of Seattle voters who passed the Levy to Move Seattle in 2016. One of the ways 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 Federal Transit Administration is contributing $80.5 million to the $133.4 million project. This includes $10.9 million from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, $59.9 million from the Small Starts Grant program, and another $9.7 million from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. This is the result of years of close collaboration between SDOT and the Federal Transit Administration to meet the rigorous readiness requirements of their grant program.

Sound Transit is also contributing up to $35.8 million to the project, as part of a Capitol Improvement Program agreement with SDOT. This project will be one of the first of many Sound Transit 3 commitments which will be completed in the coming years.

The RapidRide G Line is one of many major transit investments the Levy is delivering to create a more connected city, along with other major transit investments like the RapidRide H Line on Delridge Way SW, RapidRide J Line along Roosevelt and Eastlake avenues, and other Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridors throughout Seattle.  

SDOT will work to build the project as efficiently as possible while maintaining access and mobility. The team will work in sections along the project area and work will generally occur on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. At least one lane of traffic will be kept open in each direction most of the time but there will be some times crews have to close intersections, typically on weekends or overnight. 


“By making it easier to board, easier to pay and ensuring more buses per hour, the RapidRide G Line will better connect the people of Seattle, encouraging more people to get on board,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “FTA is proud to join our partners in the Seattle area to expand the bus rapid transit network in western Puget Sound.”

“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. “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 in her support of 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.”

“Breaking ground on the RapidRide G Line marks another expansion of King County’s high capacity transit network. We connect growing communities with the 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 and ferries - and now RapidRide G - we are building a truly integrated mobility system.”

“The up to $35.8 million dollars that Sound Transit invested in this project will improve the lives of thousands of riders travelling to and from one of Seattle’s dense and vibrant neighborhoods, giving them outstanding connections to our fast-expanding regional transit system,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “We thank the City of Seattle and King County Metro Transit for leading the partnership to make this project happen, and the Federal Transit Administration for their funding to enable it.”

“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.”  

“Projects like the Madison - RapidRide G line will transform how people think about mobility in Seattle” said SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe. “We are putting the pieces of a regional, interconnected, and high-quality transit system together. We thank Seattle voters, the Federal Transit Administration, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and all of the community partners who make this project possible. Projects like this one are critical for our commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and safe and reliable transit.” 

“We are celebrating the start of a historic groundbreaking and the culmination of a collaborative planning effort with community members and across partner agencies,” said Metro General Manager Terry White. “Working together on a federal, state, regional, and municipal level made the RapidRide G Line a reality. I look forward to returning to the corner of Rev. Samuel B. McKinney and Madison streets to celebrate the start of the RapidRide Service to the neighborhoods it will serve. The G Line will also better connect these neighborhoods with our regional mobility network.”