Ground broken on permanent Tukwila commuter train station

Sounder and Amtrak riders who travel through Tukwila have something to celebrate: Sound Transit broke ground today on construction of a permanent Sounder commuter rail station in Tukwila. The station will replace a temporary structure and offer 390 parking spaces, better transit connections, more bicycle storage, improved passenger shelters, and public art.

Joining in turning the first ceremonial shovels of dirt were U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and King County Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, Sound Transit Boardmember and King County Executive Dow Constantine, State Rep. Steve Bergquist, and Tukwila City Council President Kathy Hougardy.

“Today marks a long-awaited milestone. Sounder rider access is improving in South King County,” said Julia Patterson. “Currently, more than 1,300 weekday boardings take place on average at the temporary Tukwila Station. Now, local residents and regional commuters will have a permanent Sounder Station in Tukwila for years to come.”

The Tukwila Station is the second most popular Sounder south line facility on a commuter rail route that serves 10,000 riders a day. Sound Transit secured $14.2 million in competitive federal grant monies to help fund for the project. Voters approved a station in Tukwila in the 1996 Sound Move ballot measure. Sound Transit delayed construction of a permanent facility to make sure it would work well with transportation and development plans in Tukwila and Renton. Sound Transit built a temporary structure in 2000 to serve riders in the area until the permanent station was complete.

“I am pleased this investment in our regional transportation system is moving forward,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The partnership between Sound Transit, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Federal Railroad Administration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by working together to continue building a transit network that will serve Central Puget Sound residents for generations to come.”

The new facility, with a total budget of $46 million, will include two 600-foot-long platforms, two new passenger shelters, improvements to the underpass connecting the two platforms, and a bus transit area supporting better access to King County Metro Transit services, including the future Rapid Ride F line. Parking for transit users will nearly double from 208 to 390 stalls, and a plaza, improved walkways and lighting will offer better pedestrian access to the station. The facility will also house four electrical charging stations, and bicycle storage will increase from 27 to 76 spaces. Stormwater detention facilities and rain gardens will help manage stormwater runoff, which has been an issue at the temporary facility. A signature entryway art piece by artist Sheila Klein will welcome riders to the station.

“The new Tukwila Station strengthens Amtrak’s Cascade service in Central Puget Sound for some 27,000 Amtrak passengers annually,” Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator said. “Construction of this station brings us one step closer to realizing the region’s long-term vision for future interconnected regional and intercity passenger service that is safe, more frequent, and more reliable.”

“The City of Tukwila would like to thank Sound Transit for its work in realizing the vision of a permanent Sounder station in our city,” said Tukwila City Council President Kathy Hougardy. “The investments in a new structure, additional parking, and improved access for those walking, riding, and taking the bus will enhance transportation connections for those who depend on transit for their travel needs.”

The station will serve Sounder commuter rail and Amtrak Cascades service. The temporary facility will remain in operation during construction. The station is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014.

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