King County Metro Breaks Ground on Electric Bus Base


From left: Susan Fletcher, administrator, FTA Region Ten; Heena Vahora, co-chair of the Metro Mobility Equity Cabinet; Michelle Allison; Tukwila Mayor Tom McLeod; Dow Constantine; Ash Awad, CMO, McKinstry; Dawn Lindell.

King County Metro, Seattle, WA, was joined recently by representatives from the City of Tukwila, FTA, and Seattle City Light to break ground on the agency’s first 100-percent electric bus base, which will support 120 next-generation buses scheduled to arrive in the next two years.

“Metro is leading a sustainability transformation and today’s event celebrates a vital milestone,” said Metro General Manager Michelle Allison. “As we transition to a zero-emission fleet, the new interim base in Tukwila will be the blueprint to construct future bases and will be a hub of innovation. New zero-emission vehicles and our world-class technicians and other transit professionals will soon be here. The interim base will keep them charged up!”

The new, 544,000-square-foot base will include maintenance facilities and charging infrastructure. Construction of the $115 million facility will be directed by McKinstry and will feature several sustainability efforts to reduce energy consumption and reuse materials, including drought-resistant native species to minimize the need for irrigation and reducing the heat island effect by replacing dark asphalt with lighter-colored concrete. Together, these and other project features achieve Platinum status on the county’s Sustainable Infrastructure Scorecard as required by the Green Building Ordinance.

“The future of transit is electric, and today we’re building Metro’s infrastructure to deliver the bus network of tomorrow,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “A new, 100-percent electric base for 120 new zero-emission buses will help us combat carbon emissions, push back against our changing climate, and support this new fleet for decades to come.”

Building on years of partnership with Seattle City Light, the interim base will use 6-10 megawatts of electric energy to charge Metro’s and King County’s zero-emission bus fleet. Interim base will also be home to zero-emission non-revenue vehicles, including EV sedans and an electric yard cart, all powered by new charging infrastructure being installed at an adjacent parking garage. Additionally, Metro is investing in software technology to support charge management and efficient operations at the site.

“Today marks another milestone achievement for our region’s transportation electrification and decarbonization,” said Dawn Lindell, interim general manager & CEO Seattle City Light. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with King County Metro as we work together to create the energy future for the communities we serve.”

The buses that will operate out of this base will be focused on serving the communities of south King County that have disproportionately borne the brunt of the pollution generated by fossil fuels.