Sound Transit broke ground on the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension this week. The 2.4-mile project will expand the current rail line to connect Tacoma’s Theater District to the Stadium District and Hilltop neighborhoods. As part of the project, Sound Transit will relocate the Theater District station and build six new ones.

State, city, and county officials gathered to celebrate the start of construction at an event on Monday at People’s Park in downtown Tacoma.

“Hilltop Tacoma Link provides additional access to our downtown corridor and will help fuel our economic growth,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said on Monday. “This ground breaking event today would not have been possible without the support of Sen. (Patty) Murray, Rep. (Derek) Kilmer, and our partnership with the Federal Transit Administration. Our city is poised to grow by 64 percent in the next 20 years and expanding Tacoma Link will connect residents to our regional transit system for years to come.”

“Expanding Tacoma Link will bring $250 million in economic development to our region’s economy. Best of all, it connects neighbors to each other, cuts traffic, and helps people avoid hefty parking bills,” Rep. Derek Kilmer added.

Walsh Construction Company II, LLC was selected to build the rail extension as well as the new stations.

The $217 million project is funded via a partnership between Sound Transit, the city of Tacoma, a $75 million federal Small Starts grant, and a $15 million federal TIGER grant.

Service on the extended line is expected to begin in 2022. More information about the project is available here.