"Light rail is now integral to Tacoma's transportation network, and the Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods are ideal locations for light-rail expansion," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Extending Tacoma Link will better connect these vital neighborhoods and the business district."
The identified alignment would continue north from the existing Theater District Station along Stadium Way to the intersection of North First Street and Division Avenue, then from the intersection of North 1st Street and Division Avenue to Martin Luther King Way and South 19th Street. In this alignment, an expanded Tacoma Link would operate in both directions on Martin Luther King Way.
The selection of the alignment is the result of an alternatives analysis and public outreach process that began in August 2012. During that early scoping phase, public comment was sought on 24 corridor options in eleven distinct corridors. In May 2013, the Sound Transit Board selected the North Downtown Central Corridor (Hilltop via the Stadium District) as the preferred corridor for the potential Tacoma Link expansion. Since May, the agency has worked with city leaders, business owners and residents to define and evaluate alignment options within the selected corridor.
During environmental review, the alignment will undergo conceptual engineering, station locations will identified and site options for an expanded maintenance facility in the vicinity of the existing facility near East 25th and G streets will be studied. The board is scheduled to select the final alignment after the environmental review.
Construction of the project is contingent on securing local and federal funding. Voters approved funding for the Tacoma Link Expansion in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. The project is expected to require $50 million from ST2 tax revenues, $50 million from a local partnership and $50 million from a federal Small Starts grant. Local partnership and federal funding must be secured in order to begin construction on the project.