Sound Transit could purchase 1.2-mile Tacoma rail line

A stretch of railroad currently owned by the City of Tacoma and used for Sounder commuter rail service could soon be sold to Sound Transit.

According to documents prepared by City of Tacoma staff, the 1.2-mile line was purchased from the Weyerhaeuser Company in 1995 and later used by Sound Transit to operate Sounder rail service between Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square and Seattle’s King Street Station as part of a temporary operating agreement. Last year, City of Tacoma and Sound Transit representatives were negotiating a new agreement when they began to discuss the property sale.

For Sound Transit, owning the rail line, which stretches between East D Street and Puyallup Avenue in Tacoma, will allow the transportation agency to make future infrastructure investments, such as the planned replacement of a trestle located on the property, which is currently scheduled for completion in 2017.

For the City of Tacoma, Sound Transit will pay $4 million for the property, transfer approximately 1.2 acres of property near the intersection of Pacific Avenue and South 26th Street to the City of Tacoma, and spend as much as $200,000 on landscape design and improvements to the transferred property. Sound Transit will also allow Tacoma Rail to continue its freight operations on the rail line.

Tacoma Rail officials reviewed the plan and determined the rail line sale would not affect their railroad operations, according to City of Tacoma staff.

A public hearing on the issue will be held on Tues., Dec. 10, at approximately 5:30 p.m. in Tacoma City Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, First Floor, in downtown Tacoma.

Tacoma City Council is expected to vote on the issue at a later date.