Light rail gets lift to Sea-Tac

Sound Transit, Washington’s regional transportation authority, announced plans Wednesday to extend its proposed light-rail system all the way to Sea-Tac.

The plan, announced at a news conference by King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, addresses the main criticism of the authority’s light-rail system as it is currently configured.

“What I clearly wish to avoid is being part of an agency that had a ‘train to nowhere,’” said Sims, who is also chairman of the board of Sound Transit.

Under the current plan, due for completion in 2009, the light-rail line would end one mile short of the airport – at South 154th Street in the city of Sea-Tac – and airline passengers would then be bused the extra distance to the airport.

Under the new agreement, extension of the line to the airport would be completed by 2001 and paid for with local money, Sound Transit officials said.

Meanwhile, in Pierce County, the Tacoma Link light rail system is set to be up and running in September.