The Federal Transit Administration Small Starts program awarded the funds needed — $75 million — to begin construction on Sound Transit‘s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project.
The $75 million makes up the remaining funds necessary for the $217 million project. Construction on the integral 2.4-mile section of rail will begin this fall. Service is projected to launch in 2022.
Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Derek Kilmer were two of the project’s most ardent champions.
“Expanding light rail to the Medical Mile and Hilltop communities is a major step forward that will increase access to safe, reliable transportation and facilitate economic development in the city,” said Sen. Patty Murray. “I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to strengthen investments that help make these solutions a reality in our communities.”
The Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension’s route will include six new stations that will be dispersed along Commerce Street and Stadium Way, until the final stop in the Hilltop District. Voters have approved funding for a further light rail extension to Tacoma Community College that will be completed in 2039.
“Tacoma will continue to attract more and more people and jobs in the coming years,” Sound Transit Board member and Tacoma Mayo Victoria Woodards stated. “The expanded Tacoma Link system will improve transportation around the city and connect riders with regional light rail, Sounder trains and bus service at the Tacoma Dome.”