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Obama Budget Includes Link Extension Funding
Here's some potential good news for everyone looking forward to seeing the next phase of the Link built in Tacoma in our lifetimes: the current draft of the Obama administration's 2016 budget includes $74.99 million in Small Starts federal funding for extending the Tacoma Link light rail line.
That $75 million wouldn't cover the full cost of the project, but it would be a significant contribution to funding the project, and Sound Transit and its partners are working on lining up the rest of the funding needed. From the Sound Transit press release (Read the full ST press release here):
"The president said it well in his State of the Union - 21st century growth calls for 21st century infrastructure," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Tacoma Link is a central part of Tacoma's mobility solution, and I urge Congress to adopt this proposal, which will provide a significant share of the funding needed to move this project forward."
Voters approved a potential partnership to expand Tacoma Link in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. Expansion of the 1.6-mile light rail system between the Tacoma Dome and Theater District stations requires partnership funding before the expansion can be built. The 2.4-mile expansion requires approximately $75 million in Small Starts funding, $50 million in ST2 revenues, and $40 million from the City of Tacoma, a key partner in the project. To date, Sound Transit and the City have worked together to secure $13 million in grants for the City's contribution to the project.
This is all, of course, subject to approval by Congress, so, like a shot of mid-range tequila, we're taking the good news with several grains of salt.
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