For incoming personnel who choose to fly to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Sea-Tac Airport is only 35 miles away from the base. Once you’re in Pierce County, you can take advantage of local public transportation, including light rail services.
Seattle Tacoma International Airport
17801 International Blvd.
Seattle, WA 98158 206-787-5388
Sea-Tac Airport is approximately 35 miles from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and served more than 45 million travelers in 2016. Major carriers include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Ground transportation includes bus, light rail, taxi, shuttle and rental car service.
3701 96th St. SW
Lakewood, WA 98496 253-581-8000
Pierce Transit offers fixed route bus service from Seattle through Tacoma and onto Olympia. Pierce Transit has more than 50,000 boardings every weekday. Vanpool and paratransit services are also available. For more information on routes and fares, visit the Pierce Transit website.
Tacoma Link Light Rail
Tacoma Dome Station
424 E. 25th St.
Tacoma, WA 98421 888-889-6368
The Tacoma Link light rail travels 1.6 miles through downtown Tacoma, with six stops along the way. Tacoma Link is the only free transit service in the region. For more information on the light rail’s stops and schedules, visit the Sound Transit website.
Washington State Ferries
2901 Third Ave., Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98121 206-464-6400
This state-operated ferry system provides passenger and vehicle service throughout Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands and is part of the Washington State Department of Transportation. The 22 distinctive green-and-white ships are legally part of the state highway system. Routes closest to Joint Base Lewis-McChord include stops at Point Defiance and Tahlequah.
Fares for the Washington State Ferries vary based on route, passenger ages, vehicle dimensions and other factors. Visit the ferry system’s website for rates, routes and more information.
DRIVING AND COMMUTING
Pierce County is traversed by two interstate highways and various state routes.
Interstate 5 enters the county near Milton and Fife and runs east to west until it reaches Tacoma. In Tacoma, the route veers south to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. From the base, the interstate exits the county in a southwest direction, providing a route to Olympia. Interstate 705 is a spur route of Interstate 5 in Tacoma. It connects downtown Tacoma with the waterfront, northern Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome.
Other major routes include state Route 512, which runs from Lakewood to North Puyallup, and state Route 16, which begins at an interchange with Interstate 5 in Tacoma and travels over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Gig Harbor and Port Orchard.
The Washington State Department of Transportation offers commuter options at www.wsdot.wa.gov/choices. The department’s website also provides real-time traffic information. Registered users can receive email or text alerts for current traffic conditions, mountain pass reports, construction updates and more. Visit www.wsdot.wa.gov and click on “Email/text updates” in the upper right-hand corner of the home page for more information.
Washington State Department of Licensing
The Washington State Department of Licensing issues driver’s licenses, identification cards and vehicle registration and provides other driving-related services. Find many of the required forms and general information at the department’s website. For a full list of driver license and vehicle license offices, visit www.dol.wa.gov/officelocations.html?fldt.
Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed in Washington from elsewhere may continue to drive with a valid driver’s license from their home state, but in general, all Washington residents who want to drive must apply for a driver’s license within 30 days of their move to the state.
The state spells out what is required for licensing and insurance under various scenarios in its Washington Driver Guide at www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/docs/driverguide-en.pdf.
The state of Washington prohibits drivers from making calls on handheld wireless telephones while operating a motor vehicle. Texting while driving is also prohibited.
Visit www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/registervehicle.html for information on how to register your vehicle in Washington. Nonresident military personnel may continue to use license plates from their home of record or plates issued from a foreign jurisdiction other than their official home of record until they expire. Additional registration information for military personnel can be found at www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/military-inwa.html. Applications associated with driving and vehicle registration are available at www.dol.wa.gov/forms.html?fldt.
Washington State Department of Transportation