Light rail to Fife and Tacoma now delayed until 2035

Sound Transit announced Feb. 28 that the light rail connection from Federal Way and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Fife and Tacoma – a project commonly referred to as ST3 – has been delayed again, this time to 2035.

The delay is a result of problems with planning by Sound Transit. Though it won’t require additional funding to complete the connection, Pierce County residents will have to wait longer for the expanded light rail service.

“This is disappointing. Five years after it was promised to voters of the South Sound, we have to wait again,” said Pierce County Councilman Ryan Mello.

ST3, funded through taxes approved by voters in 2016, is slated to cost $54 billion. It will add 62 new miles of light rail between Tacoma in the south, Everett in the north, and King County’s Eastside (Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Issaquah). Combined with two other phases covering other parts of the Puget Sound region, the overall light rail expansion by Sound Transit stretch 112 miles and 142 billion when completed.

In a joint statement, Mello and Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards expressed frustration about delays in light rail reaching Pierce County and said residents there deserve more public transportation from Sound Transit while they’re waiting.

“Pierce County residents are paying Sound Transit taxes and have been for years with little value in return in the short term,” Woodards and Mello said.