Tacoma Link light rail takes major step forward as Sound Transit Board identifies route and station locations

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Tacoma's Link light rail line is one step closer to connecting downtown Tacoma with the Tacoma Dome Commuter Station around 2001, thanks to the identification of routes and stations unanimously adopted by the Sound Transit Board yesterday.

The 1.6-mile "L"-shaped route will start as a single track line at a station between the Tacoma Dome Commuter Parking Garage and Freighthouse Square on E. 25th St., go west to a station just before Pacific Ave. before turning north onto Pacific Ave. The route becomes a double track line north of a station at the Washington State History Museum and University of Washington, and when it reaches S. 17th St. it could go one of two directions: continue north on Pacific Ave., or go west one block to Commerce St., with both routes having a station near S. 13th St. and ending just north of a Theater District station at S. 9th St. An operations and maintenance facility will be located on E. 25th St. just east of Freighthouse Square.

Tacoma City Councilmember and Sound Transit Board Chair Paul Miller said further study was needed to explore potential benefits and opportunities of the two north-south route options, and to hopefully coordinate construction schedules of the Link light rail line and other major projects planned for downtown Tacoma.

Sound Transit - the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority - is also developing Sounder commuter rail service which is scheduled to begin service between Tacoma and Seattle by the end of 1999, with extensions south to Lakewood and north to Everett opening about a year later; a 24-mile Link light rail system connecting the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Seattle by the year 2006; and Regional Express bus service, which will inaugurate eight new routes in Sept. 1999, eventually serving the entire region with 17 new, limited-stop express bus routes.

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