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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit faces busy mid-June


Now that Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority has stabilized its house a little — having unanimously voted June 12 to install Joni Earl as executive director — board members are rolling up their sleeves and getting ready to move forward with Link light rail.

Starting the week of June 18, Sound Transit plans to begin constructing another portion of its 1.6-mile Tacoma Link light rail project. The construction site — once a Chevron gas station — would include a park plaza for pedestrians.

Emerald Services won the $184,000 contract to demolish the building, remove underground fuel tanks and conduct environmental cleanup, which includes replacing contaminated soil with clean fill.

Then Sound Transit and Tacoma plan to team up to complete the plaza. Sound Transit would install the tracks and Tacoma would add new walkways and pedestrian connections. University of Washington’s Tacoma campus, which is adjacent to the site, also plans to be involved in the project.

Meanwhile, officials plan June 21 to celebrate completion of artworks created for Tacoma Dome Station. The artwork will be found in and around the Tacoma Dome Central Plaza, which is designed to connect the Sounder commuter rail station, the future Link light rail station and the Pierce Transit/Regional Express parking garages.

And, if Sound Transit officials didn’t have enough on their plate for one week, they also plan to host a public forum June 20, seeking public input while the board considers several options for building the first segment of the Central Link light rail project.

"We need to hear from the public as we consider the future of light rail in our region," said Chairman Dave Earling in a prepared statement. "I encourage everyone who’s interested to come to the forum, learn more about Sound Transit and share constructive comments and ideas."

Earling and other board members plan to present the following options for an initial segment: University District to south downtown, Convention Place Station in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to S. Henderson Street in Rainier Valley, Convention Place Station to SeaTac, and Capitol Hill to S. Henderson Street.

Sound Transit representatives plan to be on hand from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. to speak with the public, who also will be able to view displays. From 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., officials plan to hold overview and public comment sessions at Seattle Town Hall.