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Sound Transit late last week marked the start of construction of the East Link light-rail extension connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond, Wash. Federal, state and local officials gathered near the site of a future tunnel under downtown Bellevue for a ceremonial groundbreaking, agency officials said in a press release.Funding for the $3.7 billion, 14-mile extension is provided in part by a $1.3 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project's budget also includes a $100 million in-kind contribution from the city of Bellevue toward the downtown tunnel. In addition, the city is providing $10 million for a bike and pedestrian bridge over State Route 520 at the Overlake Village Station. Microsoft, which has a campus in Redmond, has also chipped in $33 million for a similar bridge bridge over State Route 520 at the Overlake Transit Center Station.The new bridges are aimed at providing a direct connection to the Microsoft campus and other businesses on the north side of the highway, Sound Transit officials said.The extension, which is slated for completion in 2023, will have 10 stations. By 2030, East Link trains are expected to carry 50,000 riders each weekday.A map of Sound Transit's East Link extensionSource: Sound Transit
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