Make way! Sound Transit Board chooses site in Federal Way for Ops, Maintenance Facility

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Marking a significant milestone for projects and future Link service in Pierce County and South King County, the Sound Transit Board selected the South 336th Street site in Federal Way as the future location of the Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) South.

The Board previously identified the site as the preferred alternative in 2021 after publishing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The agency posted on its website that when complete, the OMF South will store and maintain Link light rail trains for future Link expansion, including service to West Seattle and Tacoma, while providing more than 600 permanent jobs within the project site.

It will also contain a test track for 24-hour conditioning and testing of new light rail vehicles, allowing them to enter passenger service more quickly.

“Siting the Operations and Maintenance Facility South marks another major milestone for Sound Transit as we advance the most ambitious transit expansion in the nation, bolstering service throughout Central Puget Sound,” said King County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine.

The site choice does not come without a downside, however.

According to The Tacoma News Tribune, a Federal Way megachurch will be demolished to make way for the project. The site is now occupied by the Christian Faith church. The $58 million, 2,500-seat Federal Way location was opened in 2007. The church has another location in Mill Creek.

Claudia Balducci, chair of the Sound Transit System Expansion Committee, said the facility will help turn light rail into an 83-station regional network.

“We’re also pleased to be adding needed living-wage jobs to South King County,” she added.

“Due to land constraints, we had limited options before us for this new Operations and Maintenance Facility. I believe this is the most cost-effective decision we could make as good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Sound Transit Board member and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “At similar facilities, the average employee wage is $45 an hour – that’s more than $85,000 a year. I’m glad these impactful jobs supporting regional transit will be in South King County.”

“With the OMF South site now selected, we look forward to working with our project partners to advance final design, build, and operate a world-class facility to serve the region for generations to come,” said Sound Transit Interim CEO Goran Sparrman.

When completed, OMF South will service about 144 light rail vehicles for train cleaning and repairs and include a 1.4-mile connecting track from the Federal Way Link Extension to the site. These tracks are expected to be used by the future Tacoma Dome Link Extension, which is currently undergoing environmental review.

The project will now advance to final design work and construction. The Board has identified a target in-service date of 2029, and actions are being taken to accelerate the current schedule to achieve that date.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

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