Sound Transit Inaugural Ride
Saturday July 18, 2009

It’s fitting that we’ve come together here at the Mount Baker Station to officially cut the ribbon for the start of Link light rail service.

Building this line required cooperation from many jurisdictions and people. We met halfway. We all gave a little to get something we all need.

I was proud to start my first Link ride this morning in Tukwila—the southern terminus of light rail until the connection to the airport opens late this year.

Tukwila is a vibrant city that treasures its friendly neighborhood, city parks, extensive trail system and overall quality of life.

That’s why we’re so pleased to officially welcome Link light rail, and thousands of first-time riders, to our city today.

Light rail is bringing together Tukwila, the Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, SODO and downtown Seattle in new and important ways.

This is more than a celebration of light rail. In Tukwila and communities south of Seattle, a strong economy is an essential part of our quality of life.

Tukwila already is home to more than 2,000 businesses and over 42,000 jobs. Businesses in our city manufacture everything from cookies and candy to electronic instruments. We’re home to more than 100 restaurants, 30 jewelry stores and more than 100 places to shop for clothing, shoes and accessories.

In Tukwila, we take pride in partnering with all our neighboring cities to strengthen the overall regional economy. We are a team player. Link light rail is an example of this partnership.

We depend on a good, safe and reliable transportation system to bring people in and out of the city. A good transportation system can also help our economy grow.

The Link light rail line is doing just that.

Building Link created good family-wage jobs. The Link transportation system will help keep current companies in place by giving employees a new efficient way to get to work and back.

This new transportation option may also encourage new companies to move into our area.

I’m happy to join you on your first ride this morning. I’m impressed so far with how easy Link is to use, the original artworks and the new connections it opens up to cities and neighborhoods.

It’s going to be fun seeing our region from a fresh perspective—off the freeway and on board a light rail train. In overhead tracks, on the ground and through tunnels—we’ve got a new way of seeing how others live and work.

Let’s enjoy the ride.