SDOT: Streetcar project is, perhaps, an example of poor management

Apr 2, 2018, 12:01 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm

Seattle bike, streetcar...

The cost of the Seattle streetcar continues to balloon. (SDOT)


The interim director of Seattle’s Department of Transportation admits the latest streetcar project that appears to be over budget was mismanaged.

RELATED: Seattle Mayor Durkan halts streetcar expansion

SDOT Interim Director Goran Sparrman says he doesn’t know how much the project will actually cost.

“Frankly, this is an example of probably … how a project perhaps should not have been managed. And council should be aware that I’m looking at project management overall inside the department.”

Up to six months could pass before we know whether or not Seattle’s latest streetcar project will move forward.

On Friday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a stop order on the project after “too many questions” were raised about the actual cost of the project.

Council members want to know exactly when the city became aware of the huge gap in the estimated cost of the project, and the actual cost.

“How did we get here?” Councilmember Debora Juarez asked.

With lawyers standing by, Juarez was told it’s a question she would only get in executive session.

Councilmember Rob Johnson noted that he would rather the city pause the project now than a year from now.

“We’ve caught something before we started major construction … ” he said.

The project broke ground in October. However, the work that actually began was utility work. The city was still “sitting on” two bids, which will be canceled, according to Goran Sparrman, the interim director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. Officials will look at the contract for the actual streetcars in terms of obligations, Sparrman said, adding SDOT will work with the law department on that.

The project had an initial price tag of $150 million. The latest estimate is $200 million when factoring in all the work surrounding the project.

Additionally, King County Metro, which will actually run the system, argues the operating cost is much higher than the assumed $16 million by SDOT.

If the city decides to eventually move forward with the project, it will cost more to get it started back up. For instance, the city will have to re-bid for projects.

The Center City Connector Streetcar project is planned to connect the city’s two lines together with 1.2 additional miles of track. SDOT estimated the connection will result in thousands more riders per day.

City Attorney Pete Holmes assured the council that their questions will be answered.

Local News

tupac shakur...

Rio Yamat and Ken Ritter

Man tied to suspected shooter in Tupac Shakur’s 1996 killing arrested in Las Vegas, AP sources say

Tupac Shakur was gunned down when he was 25. He was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight.

17 minutes ago

Former NFL football player Michael Oher, whose story became the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated...

Associated Press

Judge says she is ending conservatorship between former NFL player Michael Oher and Memphis couple

A Tennessee judge said Friday she is ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school.

2 hours ago

FILE - The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. returns on C...

Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, an advocate for liberal priorities, dies at age 90

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a centrist Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 1992 in the “Year of the Woman” and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, has died. She was 90.

4 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Bellevue Police warn of jewelry-for-cash scam targeting good Samaritans

Police are seeing a retuning scam in Bellevue that preys on good Samaritans, and it’s similar to one that’s been happening for years.

4 hours ago

BRAZIL - 2023/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a laptop s...

Associated Press

Apple leverages idea of switching to Bing to pry more money out of Google, Microsoft exec says

Apple was never serious about replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine in Macs and iPhones, but kept the possibility open as a "bargaining chip'' to extract bigger payments from Google

5 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police vehicle...

Frank Sumrall

Report: Seattle Police ended contract with AI service after Auderer’s comments

SPD canceled its contract with Truleo less than a month after Officer Daniel Auderer's comments about Jaahnavi Kandula's death were captured, a report says.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

SDOT: Streetcar project is, perhaps, an example of poor management