Sound Transit: Obama budget includes $75M for Tacoma Link light rail expansion

Sound Transit officials announced Tuesday a budget proposal presented by President Barack Obama and his administration this week includes approximately...

Sound Transit officials announced Tuesday a budget proposal presented by President Barack Obama and his administration this week includes approximately $75 million in grant funding to expand Tacoma’s Link light rail system.

If the 2016 Fiscal Year budget is approved by Congress, the Small Starts Federal Transit Administration grant would provide the single largest funding source for the future expansion of Tacoma Link, alongside funding provided through the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure and required funding that the agency and its partners are working to secure, according to Sound Transit officials.

“The City of Tacoma and its residents have spent several years working with Sound Transit to identify an alignment to best serve the needs of those who live, work, visit and invest here,” said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “This Small Starts grant, if approved, will help secure the remaining funding needed to advance this important regional project for Tacoma.”

Sound Transit officials note voters approved a potential partnership to expand Tacoma Link in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure, and expansion of the 1.6-mile light rail system between the Tacoma Dome and Theater District stations requires partnership funding before the expansion can be built. The 2.4-mile expansion requires approximately $75 million in Small Starts funding, $50 million in Sound Transit 2 revenues, and $40 million from the City of Tacoma. To date, Sound Transit and the City have worked together to secure $13 million in grants for the City’s contribution to the project.

One year ago this month, Sound Transit Board of Directors, in cooperation with the City of Tacoma, Pierce Transit and community members, identified a preferred alignment for the project. The alignment would expand the system from the Theater District to the Stadium and Hilltop districts and includes seven proposed stations. The Board is scheduled to review a final alignment and station locations this spring.

Tacoma Link is a central part of Tacoma’s mobility solution, and I urge Congress to adopt this proposal, which will provide a significant share of the funding needed to move this project forward,” added Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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

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