Initially, news that Tacoma Link will remain free sounds like a bargain (TNT, 4/28).
However, when you peel back the layers and look at Tacoma Link’s actual costs, it becomes clear that the adage “there’s no such thing as a free ride” has never rung truer.
According to Sound Transit’s adopted 2016 budget, taxpayers are footing the bill for Tacoma Link to a collective tune of $5.1 million this year, all for a 1.6-mile streetcar that duplicates Pierce Transit bus service through downtown Tacoma. The $29,000 from the Business Improvement Area is a mere pittance toward covering these costs.
Who are some of Tacoma Link’s biggest fans? Downtown Tacoma workers and UW Tacoma students and employees who otherwise would have to pay to park downtown and who can now park for free and ride the Link for free from the Tacoma Dome Station park & ride.
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The problem is that regional commuters who depend on parking at Tacoma Dome Station to take Sound Transit buses or trains are being displaced. Where’s Sound Transit’s logic of forcing these commuters onto an already overcrowded Interstate 5? This life-long mass transit supporter is feeling totally confused by Sound Transit’s priorities.