Sound Transit Board identifies alternatives to study for Tacoma Dome Link Extension

Early community engagement keeps project on track for 2030 opening

Publish Date

The Sound Transit Board of Directors today identified a preferred alternative and other alternatives to study for the 9.7-mile Tacoma Dome Link Extension project.

The Board action culminates 18 months of public engagement with community organizations, neighborhood groups, agency partners, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and local elected officials.

"While I'm disappointed that we are not advancing a cut-and-cover option at the Tacoma Dome, I'm dedicated to working alongside Sound Transit to ensure the Dome District and the City of Tacoma receive a station that integrates into the community, reflects high-quality design and showcases how Sound Transit and the Puget Sound region are leaders in transit oriented development," said Tacoma Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Victoria Woodards. "I remain committed to ensuring regional light rail gets to Tacoma, and because of this I stand with my fellow Sound Transit Board members in advancing alternatives for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension into environmental study."

The early public engagement to identify a preferred alternative, as well as other alternatives to study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), is part of a process designed to meet the expedited project completion targets in the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure. Construction will begin in early 2020 to complete light rail between SeaTac and Federal Way in 2024. To further extend service all the way to Tacoma by 2030, Sound Transit is working to publish the DEIS in 2021, select a final alignment in 2022 and break ground in 2025.

"The City of Fife is excited to bring fast, reliable regional light rail to our residents," said Fife Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Kim Roscoe. "As elected officials we welcome the abundant economic opportunities, transit oriented development and traffic relief that light rail brings to our community."

As part of the expedited process, Sound Transit convened a Stakeholder Group and an Elected Leadership Group to advise the Board. These groups considered technical evaluation results and community input to recommend alternatives with the most promise for study in the DEIS phase. 

"Pierce County residents want us to deliver the Tacoma Dome Link Extension on time and on budget," said University Place Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Kent Keel. "The preferred alternative the Elected Leadership Group chose and the Board approved will help us meet that goal."

"The Tacoma Dome Link Extension will connect Pierce County residents to Sea-Tac Airport in 35 reliable minutes – even faster than the trip from downtown Seattle. Pierce residents will also be able to easily and affordably reach jobs, entertainment and other destinations within our 116-mile regional rail system," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "As traffic keeps worsening, Link and Sounder will continue expanding to give people choices to escape gridlock."

Sound Transit is coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to prepare the DEIS, followed by a public and agency comment period in late 2020. The Sound Transit Board will then confirm or modify the Preferred Alternative after considering the environmental evaluation as well as additional public and agency engagement. Sound Transit anticipates completing the Final Environmental Impact Statement in 2022, after which the Board will select the project to build and seek a Record of Decision from the FTA. 

When construction is complete in 2030, the Tacoma Dome Link Extension will provide fast, reliable light rail connections to South King and Pierce counties. 

The motions approved by the Board outlining the alternatives selected for environmental study is attached. 

A full list of Board motions is available at https://www.soundtransit.org/motions.

For more information on this project and to sign up for project updates, visit www.soundtransit.org/tdlink.

CONTACT: Scott Thompson, (206) 903-7838 or scott.thompson@soundtransit.org.