$75M for Tacoma Link Expansion in Obama Budget Proposal

Feb. 4, 2015

The Obama Administration’s FY 2016 budget proposal includes $74.99 million in Small Starts federal funding for extending the Tacoma Link light rail line.

If approved by Congress, the Small Starts Federal Transit Administration grant would provide the single largest funding source for the future expansion of Tacoma Link, alongside funding provided through the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure and required funding that the agency and its partners are working to secure.

“The president said it well in his State of the Union – 21st century growth calls for 21st century infrastructure,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Tacoma Link is a central part of Tacoma’s mobility solution, and I urge Congress to adopt this proposal, which will provide a significant share of the funding needed to move this project forward.”

Voters approved a potential partnership to expand Tacoma Link in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. Expansion of the 1.6-mile light rail system between the Tacoma Dome and Theater District stations requires partnership funding before the expansion can be built. The 2.4-mile expansion requires approximately $75 million in Small Starts funding, $50 million in ST2 revenues, and $40 million from the city of Tacoma, a key partner in the project. To date, Sound Transit and the city have worked together to secure $13 million in grants for the city’s contribution to the project.

“I am grateful to the Obama Administration for including the Tacoma Link Expansion in its FY 2016 budget,” said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “The city of Tacoma and its residents have spent several years working with Sound Transit to identify an alignment to best serve the needs of those who live, work, visit and invest here. This Small Starts grant, if approved, will help secure the remaining funding needed to advance this important regional project for Tacoma.”

In February 2014, the Sound Transit Board of Directors, in cooperation with the city of Tacoma, Pierce Transit and community members, identified a preferred alignment for the project. The alignment would expand the system from the Theater District to the Stadium and Hilltop districts and includes seven proposed stations. The Board is scheduled to review a final alignment and station locations this spring.