(The Center Square) – Sound Transit, after nearly a decade of construction of a new light rail line in Eastside King County, has finished an initial segment, with passengers now having access to transport between Bellevue and Redmond.

Light rail services for residents in the county’s Eastside opened on Saturday. However the new Link 2 Line is not fully complete. Construction continues with the new light rail line going deeper into downtown Redmond with two additional stations.

The full Link 2 Line is anticipated to open next year.

The $3.7 billion East Link Extension project was approved by voters in 2008, with construction on the project beginning in 2017. Approximately $2.2 billion in local funding is provided in Sound Transit 2 Bonds leveraging the voter-approved measure.

The initial segment of Sound Transit’s Link 2 Line is 6.6 miles long and includes eight stations. Services go every 10 minutes, 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Not only will this investment provide easier access to downtown Bellevue for our 12,000 Amazon employees in the city, but as we continue to invest in affordable housing with access to nearby public transit through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, the 2 Line will also begin to open up new opportunities for the broader community,” Amazon Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy David Zapolsky said in a news release.

In August, Sound Transit's Board of Directors authorized up to $43 million from the existing East Link Extension's budget to fund projects necessary to open the East Link Starter Line this spring, as previously reported by The Center Square.

Sound Transit is expecting to add more stations later this year. This August, the Link 1 Line – which runs from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Seattle’s Northgate District – will extend into Snohomish County.

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