Sound Transit light rail will open Saturday, July 18, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels just announced.

Sound Transit light rail will open Saturday, July 18, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels just announced.

Rides will be free that day, when both the Bite of Seattle and a Sounders FC game are scheduled, Nickels said at a Seattle news conference. Rides will also be free that Sunday.

The line from Seattle’s Westlake Center to Tukwila is the first phase of light rail. Around the end of this year, the line will run to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

A line to Husky Stadium is scheduled to open in 2016, and voters last fall approved a sales-tax hike for extensions to north Federal Way, Lynnwood and the Overlake Transit Center, near Microsoft.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com