SDOT cancels $52 million streetcar contract, project set to finish in 2026
The Seattle Department of Transportation will go back to the drawing board on its plan for building the Seattle streetcar, canceling a $52 million contract originally signed in 2017.
SDOT made the announcement Monday afternoon, noting that costs incurred by its contract with CAF USA to build 10 streetcars would have “significantly increased project costs due to our new project timeline.”
It went on to dub canceling the contract “the most fiscally responsibly option for Seattle taxpayers.”
Moving forward, SDOT will look for a consultant to finish engineering work for facilities, and begin to draw up plans for building the new streetcars sans the CAF USA contract.
“Actions we’ll be taking over the next several months will help establish that we have a solid and dependable plan to finish building the streetcar,” it said in a Monday news release.
The city wants to have this latest streetcar project run along First Avenue, linking up with already-finished lines in First Hill and South Lake Union. The project has encountered a series of delays over its lifespan, originally slated to open in 2018. As of publishing, it’s expected to be completed sometime in 2026.
It also has dealt with ballooning costs since it was first introduced. The total estimated budget for the streetcar project is $286 million. That’s double the original estimate from when the line was proposed in 2015, and $88 million more than what was budgeted in 2017. That estimate also included nearly $17 million dollars to retrofit the existing tracks to fit the larger train cars ordered for the expansion.