Mark Landreneau and I were invited to be on Sound Transit’s Light Rail inaugural ride Saturday morning! The event was quite festive and the crowd seemed happy to see the rail opening at last! Dave Ross emceed the opening ceremonies with humor. Seattle Mayor Nickels and Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton arrived on their respective trains to commemorate the historic connection of Seattle and Tukwila.

Members of the Boys and Girls club held a blue ribbon that was cut before invitees boarded the trains. We had the opportunity to greet several public officials including Congressman Jim McDermott, Mayor Nickels, ST CEO Joni Earl, King County Council Chair Dow Constantine, King County Council Member Larry Phillips, and King County Executive Kurt Triplett. Our good friend Jackie Engler represented our sister agency, The Deaf-Blind Service Center, and rode in the same train car as we did. Scott Gutierrez from the Seattle PI interviewed Mark during the ride about the impact of the new transportation system for Deaf-Blind people. Mark, who is deaf and vision impaired, was on a citizen’s advisory panel for the rail line.

The ride was smooth. In a rail car crammed full of people, we glided along down to the Tukwila station near SeaTac, enjoying the view, the company and the public art work along the route. When I returned to the Seattle Lighthouse, there was a crowd of Deaf-Blind people in front of the building with their supporters getting ready to grab the bus to the station to ride the Light Rail.

We are really excited to have this additional transportation option out there for our employees, stakeholders and community members!

– Paula Hoffman, Vice President of Governmental Affairs