Seattle — Expedited Streetcar Deal
Rail Transit Online, November 2009
Sound Transit and the City of Seattle have signed an agreement that will accelerate construction of the First Hill streetcar project, allowing it to open by 2013, three years ahead of schedule. The two-mile (3.2 km) line, connecting the First Hill and Capitol Hill neighborhoods with several employment centers and the International District downtown, is being built as a substitute for a Link light rail station which was cancelled because of engineering, geological and construction risks.
Sound Transit will cover project costs up to
$132 million plus operating expenses, while the city will manage design, property acquisition and construction. Work is scheduled to begin in 2012 after the final route is determined as part of the environmental review process.
According to the Seattle Streetcar Network Development Report released last year by the city's Department of Transportation, three additional streetcar lines are planned:
• The Central Line connecting Seattle Center to 23rd and Jackson streets along First Avenue
(four miles [6.4 km], $176 million);
• Fremont/Ballard starting downtown and running along the west side of Lake Union and through Fremont (4.4 mi. [7.1 km], $140 million);
• U Line, an extension of the South Lake Union streetcar from downtown to the University District (3.5 mi. [5.6 km], $161 million). None of the above projects have yet been funded.