FTA awards $2M grant for Tacoma Link light rail expansion plan

Sound Transit officials announced Monday the Federal Transportation Administration has awarded a $2 million grant for transit-oriented development planning along the future Tacoma Link light rail expansion route. The grant is part of a new $19.5 million Federal Transportation Administration Pilot Program for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. Tacoma is one of 21 planning projects across the country to receive the federal funding.

The grant will help fund the City of Tacoma’s “Links to Opportunity” program, which aims to improve social and economic opportunities in the neighborhoods that an expanded Tacoma Link would serve, according to Sound Transit officials. The program will also look at ways to improve pedestrian and bike access to the six stations along the route.

“The Tacoma Link expansion will improve transportation options for the Hilltop’s residents, commuters, and pedestrians,” said Sound Transit Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “This matched grant can help improve mobility and enhance the neighborhood.”

The 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light rail line currently serves six stations between the Theater District and Tacoma Dome Station. The Sound Transit Board of Directors has identified a preferred alignment to expand Tacoma Link to run an additional 2.4 miles from the Theater District to the Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods with six new stations and one relocated station.

Earlier this year the Obama administration allocated almost $75 million for the Tacoma Link expansion as part of the Federal Transportation Administration “Small Starts” program (see “Sound Transit: Obama budget includes $75M for Tacoma Link light rail expansion,” Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 3, 2015). The funding was included in the administration’s 2016 budget that is still under consideration by Congress. About $18 million in additional grants have been secured for the project along with $50 million in Sound Transit funding.

Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma are still working to secure the balance of the funds. Preliminary engineering on the project is wrapping up this fall and will be followed by final design. The Sound Transit Board will formally select the project to be built this fall.

More information about the Tacoma Link light rail expansion 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: