Sound Transit and Tacoma reach agreement on new Sounder station, expanded Sounder service by next fall
The future of the region's passenger and freight train service looks bright thanks to an agreement between the city of Tacoma and Sound Transit.
The agreement gives the green light to begin building Tacoma's permanent Sounder commuter train station near Freighthouse Square; $1.5 million to improve about a mile of adjacent Tacoma Rail track; $8 million to build a new connection between Tacoma Rail and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) main line; coordinates schedules between Sounder and freight trains to share the single Tacoma Rail track and creates a strategy to build a future passenger-only second track.
When the Tacoma station opens next fall, Sounder will be able to increase commuter service from the current two trips per day, eventually expanding Sounder service to South Tacoma and Lakewood around 2002. In the long run, the improvements will create new opportunities for swifter Amtrak and freight train service as well.
"Tacoma is really on a roll, and the success of passenger and freight trains will play a big part in our continued success as a community and region," Tacoma City Councilman and Sound Transit Boardmember Kevin Phelps said. "In the true spirit of partnership, Tacoma will be expediting permits, making available the necessary right-of-way and working together with Sound Transit to secure additional funds for a future passenger-only second track."
Sound Transit is on track to implement a three-county region-wide transit system plan known as Sound Move. Approved by voters in 1996, Sound Move will be a seamless blend of three regional transportation systems: Sounder commuter rail, running 82 miles from Everett to Tacoma/Lakewood; Link light rail, a 21-mile system connecting the cities of Seattle, Tukwila and SeaTac and a 1.6 mile system in Tacoma; and Regional Express, featuring 18 new ST Express limited stop, long-haul bus routes and 49 capital projects including new and improved transit centers, park-and-ride lots and access to HOV lanes.
For more information on Sound Move, please visit the Sound Transit Web site at www.soundtransit.org/, or call or write for more information at Sound Transit, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 398-5000 or 1-800-201-4900.
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.