All aboard the light rail extension meetings

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Sound Transit has kicked off a public involvement effort for the Tacoma Dome regional light rail extension, with an early scoping period that runs through May 3 and three upcoming open houses:

  • Tacoma: Tuesday, April 17, 6-8 p.m. at Best Western Plus Tacoma Dome Hotel, 2611 E. E Street;
  • Federal Way: Wednesday, April 18, 6-8 p.m. at Todd Beamer High School, 35999 16th Ave. S.; and 
  • Fife: Tuesday, April 24, 6-8 p.m. at Fife Community Center, 2111 54th Ave. E.

Community members unable to attend an open house can offer project feedback through an online portal at https://tdlink.participate.online/

The early scoping process kicks off project development and the environmental process for a regional light rail extension opening in Tacoma in 2030. As part of early scoping, members of the public are invited to provide input on the proposed route and stations outlined in the Sound Transit 3 Plan approved by voters as well as potential alternatives, benefits and impacts. The public will also be able to provide feedback on a potential location for an Operations and Maintenance Facility in the south corridor.

During alternatives development, staff will assess the representative project and, based on additional public engagement and technical analysis, further refine the route, station locations, and other project elements. The representative project itself is based on extensive planning and public involvement work, including high-capacity transit studies, the process to update the agency’s long-range plan, and the work to develop the ST3 Plan.

Through mid-2019, staff will engage the public and stakeholder groups in an intensive public involvement process that will lead to the Sound Transit Board identifying a preferred alternative, as well as other alternatives to evaluate in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An outline of the Community Engagement Plan is available at www.soundtransit.org/tdlink.

Identifying a preferred alternative earlier in the EIS process will jump-start public conversations about project decisions, reveal areas of broad agreement, and help focus project leadership on areas needing problem-solving and consensus building. This streamlined process is also intended to reduce overall project delivery time by reaching early public consensus on the preferred alternative and reducing the risk of new alternatives being introduced late in the environmental review process or after the environmental process is complete. The Sound Transit Board will make a final decision on the project to build after completion of the environmental review.

The representative project for the regional light rail extension to the Tacoma Dome includes 9.7-miles of elevated and at-grade light rail from the Federal Way Transit Center to the Tacoma Dome with a new rail-only fixed span across the Puyallup River. It includes four new stations in South Federal Way, Fife, East Tacoma and at the Tacoma Dome.

More information, including maps of the representative project, is available at www.soundtransit.org/tdlink.

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