Tacoma committee meets soon to offer its take on new Amtrak station

A city citizens advisory committee that recommended Tacoma’s new Amtrak station be built in the east end of Freighthouse Square will decide whether to endorse the state’s plan to build the station in the building’s mid-section.

The Washington State Department of Transportation last month told the public that building the new station in the Freighthouse’s east end would economically difficult because the operating costs of that station would be $800,000 to $1 million more annually than a location in the middle or west end of the building.

The east end site, where the tracks are three stories above the street below, would require construction of a multi-level station equipped with elevators and escalators. That multi-level station would also require more personnel to operate, an important consideration for the state which will take over operating the station from Amtrak when trains move to a new route through Tacoma in 2017. The committee had earlier rejected a west end location because it would alter the historic facade along East D Street

The new station is necessary because the existing station is located on the waterfront route through Tacoma that passenger trains will abandon in favor of the new route through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. That new route will cut congestion on the waterfront route, which will still host freight trains, and trim six to eight minutes from the schedule between Seattle and Portland.