Sound Transit community stakeholder group seeks passionate volunteers

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The Tacoma Dome Link Extension, scheduled to open in 2030, will add 9.7 miles of new rail between Federal Way and Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Sound Transit

By 2030, Sound Transit plans to extend Link Light Rail from the Federal Way Transit Center to the Tacoma Dome. Called the Tacoma Dome Link Extension, Sound Transit plans to build another 9.7 miles of track, but the question that must be answered as part of the planning process is what route the extension will take.

This is where community residents living along the route, and who will ultimately become future users of the service, play a significant part. Sound Transit is seeking out individuals passionate about rail service and active in their respective communities to apply to serve on the Tacoma Dome Link Extension Stakeholder Group. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

“We want them to make a recommendation of the preferred alignment for the project that we will present to our elected leaders group,” said Curvie Hawkins, project development director for the extension project. “It’s an 18-month process. They will meet six to eight times through mid-2019, and so they will play an important role in developing the preferred alternative.”

Summer 2019 is when Sound Transit will work toward having the stakeholder group give a recommendation to the elected leadership group. The elected leadership group is comprised of jurisdiction mayors which are Fife, Federal Way, Milton, and Tacoma, a representative of the Puyallup Tribe, as well as board members from Sound Transit located within the southern corridor. The elected leadership group will take recommendation from the stakeholder group and in turn give its recommendation to the Sound Transit Board of Directors.

The stakeholder group will be made up of 20-25 members, depending on the number of applicants. The first meeting will be March 28.

“There won’t be an interview process,” Hawkins said. “There will be an internal review. The elected leadership group will ultimately approve all the stakeholder group members.”

Hawkins said Sound Transit prefers membership on the stakeholder group to be diverse. Persons of color and women, for example, are encouraged to apply. Those who apply also must be fully committed to the process from March through spring 2019.

“We want them to participate fully,” Hawkins said. “We also (want them) to have a little understanding of public transportation and mobility. You will be representing the community that you’re associated with, and we want them to provide information back to their community.”

The Tacoma Dome Link Extension is part of Sound Transit’s regional light rail system spanning from Everett south to Tacoma. Estimated project cost for the Tacoma Dome Link Extension is $2 billion (in 2014 dollars) and is derived from the ST3 package approved by voters in November 2016.

“We definitely hope to get some great applications in,” Hawkins said. “Even if you don’t get accepted to the stakeholder group, everyone should recognize that there are multiple ways to get involved, so don’t get discouraged.”

Visit surveygizmo.com/s3/4209480/Tacoma-Dome-Link-Extension-Stakeholder-Group-Application to apply to be a volunteer. To stay updated on the project and to learn more about how to get involved, visit soundtransit.org/projects-and-plans/tacoma-dome-link-extension.

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