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Issue of Seattle’s underfunded streetcar moves on to council

A key council committee vote on the Seattle streetcar project takes place Tuesday. (SDOT)

Seattle City Council’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee on Tuesday advanced $9 million in funding for the city’s streetcar project to the full council for a final vote.

Seattle’s halted streetcar project will resume, at higher cost

Back in late July, the Seattle Department of Transportation and Mayor Jenny Durkan asked city council to approve a $9 million appropriation toward the streetcar “to perform essential engineering and design work for the Center City Connector project.” This comes as the project faces an $87 million gap in funding.

That would represent part of a $285.8 million total estimate for the project’s cost, almost double its original estimate of $143.2 million in 2015. According to SDOT, if the project were terminated, it would open up $45 million of “future bond capacity” for other transportation projects.

Given the recent bad blood between City Council and the Mayor’s Office, though, it’s unclear how this will play out. The full city council will have the issue in front of them on Monday, Aug. 12 for a possible vote.

Seattle streetcar costs have city hall poised for another showdown

SCC Insight’s Kevin Schofield notes that Councilmember Lisa Herbold has already “expressed vocal opposition” to the project as a whole. Schofield also describes how Councilmember Sally Bagshaw “supports moving the design and engineering work forward, but has concerns about the operational costs, the gap in capital funding, and the impacts of the system for freight mobility downtown.”

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