Politics & Government

Tacoma council selects seven stops for Link light rail expansion

The Tacoma City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday that would study moving a Link light rail station from the Theater District to near Old City Hall.

The decision was part of the council’s formal recommendation of seven possible stops for the 2.4-mile extension of the Link line. The council’s selection allows Sound Transit to apply for a $75 million federal grant to help pay for the roughly $165 million project.

The seven stops will now be studied to see if the locations would serve enough riders, would present any construction obstacles or would cause environmental harm.

Councilman David Boe said that even if the council voted to keep the Theater District station, the end-of-the-line for the existing Link line, Sound Transit would still have to tear up Commerce Street to add the extension.

“In general, there are significant costs either way,” said Public Works Director Kurtis Kingsolver.

Leaving the Theater District station where it is, north of Commerce and Ninth streets, means stations would be oddly spaced, he added. The next closest proposed station is north on Stadium Way at Fourth Street.

The Link’s proposed expansion would extend the line through north downtown Tacoma, up Stadium Way to the Stadium District and then south to the Hilltop along Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Kingsolver said the proposed station locations are approximate:

•  Old City Hall (would replace the Theater District station)

•  Stadium Way and Fourth Street

•  A stop in the Stadium District

•  Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Division Avenue

•  Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Sixth Avenue

•  Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 11th Street

•  Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 19th Street

Some money is already in hand for the project. To date, the city of Tacoma has $13 million in grants to help pay for its $40 million share. Another $50 million will come from money that Sound Transit taxpayers approved in 2008.