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Sound Transit moves forward with Tacoma Dome light rail project

Publish Date

Board approves contract with key consultant; public involvement to begin by mid-2018

The Sound Transit Board yesterday approved the Tacoma Dome Link Extension, establishing a $125.7 million budget for preliminary engineering for the project and giving the green light to extend light rail further south from South King into Pierce County, one of the most rapidly growing areas in the region. In a related action, the Board executed a $10.3 million consultant contract with HDR Engineering, Inc. to begin project development services.

"The Board took an exciting step forward to make light rail service a reality for the thousands of people who travel up and down the South Sound corridor every day," said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "With more people choosing to live and work in Tacoma, our imperative to deliver light rail service to Pierce County is critical to supporting our quality of life and growing economy."

"Our commitment to build light rail further south, from Angle Lake to Federal Way and ultimately Tacoma, follows years of work to push ahead while traffic throughout the region only gets worse," said Sound Transit Board member and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. "Voters' investment in the Tacoma Dome Link Extension will pay huge dividends for South Sound communities." 

"The light rail extension to Pierce County will be one of the first public transit projects to be delivered under our recently-approved system expansion plan," said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. "Delivering Link service to South Federal Way, Fife and the Tacoma Dome by 2030 will require Sound Transit, our partner cities, and the Puyallup Tribe to work closely together to gather community input and to make project decisions in an efficient manner. This will allow us to provide a safe and convenient transportation option for residents throughout the Puget Sound."

The Tacoma Dome Link Extension is part of the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) Plan approved by voters last November. The project extends light rail 9.7 miles to the cities of Federal Way, Milton, Fife, Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Reservation, with service beginning by 2030. Sound Transit will initiate technical work on the project next year, which will include an extensive community engagement to reach consensus on a Locally Preferred Alternative, and other alternatives, to study in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be completed by mid-2019.

Tacoma Dome Link Extension

This project will extend light rail from the Federal Way Transit Center to Tacoma on a primarily elevated guideway with a new rail-only fixed span crossing the Puyallup River. The plan calls for stations in South Federal Way, Fife and East Tacoma in the vicinity of Portland Avenue, with a terminus station at the Tacoma Dome. Approved by voters in the ST3 Plan, the representative project—which serves as the starting point for project development—includes two parking garages in South Federal Way and Fife, a pedestrian bridge connecting the Tacoma Dome Station to Freighthouse Square, and a new light rail bridge over the Puyallup River. 

Operation and Maintenance Facility

The Tacoma Dome project includes the construction of a new light rail operations and maintenance facility (OMF) to accommodate additional fleet capacity of an expanded regional light rail system. The specific location of this facility will be determined during project development. The OMF needs to be ready to receive light rail vehicles before the start of revenue service on the Tacoma Dome and West Seattle Link Extensions. While the facility will be part of the Tacoma Dome Link Extension project, its design and size will support the operation of the Sound Transit Link light rail system as a whole.

Sound Transit's consultant team, HDR, will be responsible for providing planning, engineering, environmental and community outreach technical services to support the first phase of project development work for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension. Other firms on the HDR team include Parametrix and EnviroIssues. 

More information about the Tacoma Dome Link Extension project, including how to sign up for project updates, is available at