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Sound Transit's board yesterday selected the route, stations, and expanded operation and maintenance facility for the Tacoma Link light-rail extension.When built, the 2.4-mile extension will serve riders traveling from Tacoma's Theater District to the city's Stadium and Hilltop neighborhoods, Sound Transit officials said in a press release."By extending light rail to the Stadium Way and Hilltop districts, more people will have better access to jobs, schools, and everyday needs," said Sound Transit Chair Dow Constantine. "We'll also work with residents to make sure that transit supports and enhances the unique character of their communities."The extension will run primarily in-street along Stadium Way, North 1st Street, Division Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and will feature one relocated station and six new ones. Marilyn Strickland, mayor of Tacoma, Wash., said that the board's action will allow the agency to complete project design and move forward with the expansion.Over the next two years, staff will advance engineering work. The preliminary cost estimate of $175 million also will be refined.Assuming all project funding is secured, construction is slated to begin in 2018.To date, Tacoma has secured $33 million in federal and state grants toward the expansion, including a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER VII) grant. Additionally, the Obama administration has included $75 million in Federal Transit Administration Small Starts funding in its fiscal-year 2016 budget proposal to Congress.For its part, Tacoma has committed to identifying an additional $7 million to complete its $40 million contribution to the project, agency officials said. The existing 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light-rail line makes six stops between the Theater District and the Tacoma Dome.Meanwhile, Sound Transit's board unanimously selected former Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff as the agency's new chief executive officer. The news comes after the agency's search committee recommended Rogoff as the top candidate for the position. "Peter Rogoff will bring the experience this region needs to expand rail and bus service for our fast-growing cities," said Constantine. "Mobility is our linchpin for a prosperous and sustainable future."
[Editor's note: This story has been updated since its initial posting.]
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