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Sound Transit launches Tacoma Link Light Rail

August 22, 2003

"Light rail has arrived in the Puget Sound region!"

With those words - amid fireworks and a shower of confetti- Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Ron Sims today officially launched service on Tacoma Link Light Rail. The 1.6-mile line is the first modern streetcar service in Washington State - and the first streetcar to run in Tacoma since 1938.

"The system we're starting today is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we stop bickering and start building. It's a loud and clear notice that Sound Transit can and does deliver," added Sims.

"This is a taste of what we'll be doing when we build Central Link 40 miles to the north."

Tacoma Link will run seven days a week between Tacoma Dome Station at Freighthouse Square and the city's historic Theater District.

"Tacoma Link is an important piece of Sound Transit's regional network and Pierce County is proud to have the region's first modern light rail system," said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg. "You can ride the train from downtown to Tacoma Dome Station and literally go anywhere in the world."

Ladenburg hailed Tacoma Dome Station as the region's first and best showcase for creating truly multi-modal transportation solutions. The facility provides connections to ST Express regional bus service; Pierce Transit local bus service; Sound Transit's Sounder commuter rail; Greyhound buses; nearby Amtrak intercity rail service; two parking garages with 2,400 park-and-ride spaces; and now, Tacoma Link light rail.

"Tacoma Link will play a proud and prominent role in Downtown Tacoma's ongoing renaissance," said Sound Transit Board Member and Tacoma City Councilman Kevin Phelps. "It will attract people and more positive development downtown by providing a fast, modern way for people to hop between our thriving businesses, museums, theaters, education institutions and destinations both here and afar. New businesses and developments are already coming online and existing businesses will flourish as downtown workers, students and tourists leave their cars to ride the train."

Tacoma Link will provide free service from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For more information on Tacoma Link, visit www.soundtransit.org. A photo is attached, and additional photos from today's launch events are available upon request.

The public is invited to participate in events and entertainment continuing throughout the day in Downtown Tacoma:

KAYO 99.3 FM Radio Remote Broadcast
Location: University of Washington, Tacoma - steps on Pacific Avenue
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

View Sound Transit Video, "From Street Cars to Tacoma Link"
Location: Museum Auditorium, Washington State History Museum (WSHM)
Time: Noon - 5 p.m

Los De Rio - Mariachi Band
Location: Outside of the history museum- along Pacific Avenue
Time: Noon

One World Taiko, percussion artists
Location: University of Washington, Tacoma- steps on Pacific Avenue
Time: 1:30 p.m.

Steve Stephanowicz, acoustic guitarist
Location: Harmon's Brewery, 1938 Pacific Avenue
Time: 3 p.m.

Tacoma Scots Bag Pipes
Location: Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) Plaza
Time: 5 p.m.

One World Taiko, percussion artists
Location: Tacoma Dome Station Plaza
Time: 5 p.m.


Closing ceremony:
Theater Square, On Broadway between South Ninth and 11th streets
Time: 7 p.m.

Master of Ceremonies
Kevin Phelps, Sound Transit Boardmember/Tacoma City Councilmember

Speakers:
Phyllis Harrison, Downtown Merchants Group
Julie Anderson, Dome District
Entertainment: The Fabulous Wailers


*** There will also be additional entertainment next to the Tacoma Link stations including Mobile Hotshop glass blowing and the Tacoma Youth Symphony***


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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.