• Sound Transit asking for public input on new light rail line to Tacoma

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    Bisected by I-5, the city of Fife is largely known for casinos and car dealers.

    But in a spot just north of State Route 99, Mayor Kim Roscoe envisions a denser place more people will live.

    She imagines taller buildings with affordable apartments, a plaza, maybe even a small grocery, all anchored by a new light rail station.

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    Sound Transit plans to connect Fife to Tacoma and Seattle by train in 2030.

    "I think the time is definitely perfect and it will be very transformative," Roscoe said.

    Sound Transit is figuring out where to build the stations and run the tracks in the 10-mile, roughly $2 billion extension between Federal Way and Tacoma.

    Light rail service from Seattle to the Federal Way Transit Center is expected to start in 2024.

    The next phase being planned now will have stops in South Federal Way, Fife, East Tacoma across I-5 from the new Emerald Queen Casino, and near the Tacoma Dome, with connections to other transit.

    During busy commute times, trains will leave every six minutes.

    A ride from Tacoma to the airport is expected to take 35 minutes.

    Compared to I-5 traffic, "The travel time is going to be pretty much guaranteed," said Sound Transit Project Development Director Curvie Hawkins. "We're excited about that, the community is excited about that."

    The Tacoma Dome Link Extension is funded by the 2016 Sound Transit 3 ballot measure.

    Although Pierce County voters down ST3, the measure passed with regional support from urban areas of King and Snohomish counties.

    Sound Transit will take public comments through May 1.

    This summer, the agency's board will decide which options to study farther, with final decisions made in 2022.

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