Sound Transit Board selects alignment, stations for Tacoma Link expansion

Sound Transit officials announced Thursday their board of directors selected the route, stations, and operation and maintenance facility for a $175 million project to expand light rail service in Tacoma.

Currently, the 1.6-mile Link light rail line serves six stations between the Theater District and Tacoma Dome Station. When built, the 2.4-mile extension will serve riders traveling from the Theater District to the Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods.

According to Sound Transit officials, the Tacoma Link expansion will run primarily in-street along Stadium Way, North 1st Street, Division Avenue, and Martin Luther King Jr., Way. It will include one relocated station in the Theater District and six new stations: Stadium Way and South 4th Street; the Stadium District; Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Division Avenue; Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 6th Avenue; Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 11th Street; and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 19th Street. The expansion also includes an expanded Tacoma Operations and Maintenance Facility at 824 E. 25th St. next to the existing maintenance facility.

“Today’s board action enables us to complete project design and move forward with this long-awaited expansion,” said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “Thanks to all the residents, businesses, and community leaders for supporting more transit options that will benefit our neighborhoods, local businesses, and the environment.”

“By extending light rail to the Stadium Way and Hilltop districts, more people will have better access to jobs, schools, and everyday needs,” added Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We’ll also work with residents to make sure that transit supports and enhances the unique character of their communities.”

In 2008, voters approved a funding partnership to expand Tacoma Link. In addition to Sound Transit 2 tax revenues and City of Tacoma contributions, the Obama Administration has included $75 million in Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding in its FY 2016 budget proposal to Congress (see “Sound Transit: Obama budget includes $75M for Tacoma Link light rail expansion,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 3, 2015). Last month, the City of Tacoma received a $15 million TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (see “$15M TIGER grant awarded for Tacoma Link light rail expansion,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 26, 2015). To date, the City has secured $33 million in federal and state grants toward the expansion, and has committed to identifying an additional $7 million to complete its $40 million contribution to the project.

More information about the project is available online here.

Downtown Tacoma Link light rail. (PHOTO COURTESY SOUND TRANSIT)

Downtown Tacoma Link light rail. (PHOTO COURTESY SOUND TRANSIT)

To read the Tacoma Daily Indexs complete and comprehensive coverage of Tacoma Link light rail expansion plans, click on the following links: