Monday, May 14, 2018

FTA awards $75M grant to Hilltop Tacoma Link extension

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FTA awards $75M grant to Hilltop Tacoma Link extension Sound Transit

Sound Transit's Hilltop Tacoma Link light-rail extension received $75 million from the Federal Transit Administration through its Small Starts grant program. It's the piece of financing needed for the project.

Sound Transit says the grant was awarded "following tireless advocacy by members of Washington's congressional delegation." The transit agency noted key proponents of the project, including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6), who repeatedly urged approval of the funds.

Construction is scheduled to get underway this fall, with service beginning in 2022.

"As communities in and around Tacoma continue to grow, we have an opportunity to make sure transportation options for workers, students, patients and families keep up. 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. Murray. "The federal government can and should be a good partner to local communities and support transportation solutions — like the Hilltop Tacoma Link — and I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to strengthen investments that help make these solutions a reality in our communities."

The 2.4-mile Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension will continue Link north along Commerce Street and run along Stadium Way to the Hilltop District, with six new stations. The project will provide additional access to Tacoma's downtown corridor, with several new housing, retail and commercial developments already planned along the new route.

"Expanding Tacoma Link to the Hilltop will provide our current residents and commuters from other areas with more ways to get to and from downtown and fuel our continuing economic growth. We owe our ability to break ground this year to the hard work of our entire federal delegation, especially Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer and our close partnership with the FTA," said Sound Transit Boardmember and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards.

Funding for the $217 million project also includes Sound Transit 2 funds, funding from the city of Tacoma and other federal and state grants. A future voter-approved extension of Tacoma Link will extend the line out to Tacoma Community College in 2039.