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Seattle - December 2011

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Seattle — Ballard-Downtown Rail Study Advanced

Rail Transit Online, December 2011

City officials plan to fund a study next year costing nearly $4 million that would examine a proposed streetcar or other high-capacity transit line connecting downtown with the Ballard area, a route that was part of the defunct Seattle Monorail scheme. Consultants would examine both light rail and bus rapid transit in addition to streetcars, but the latter appears to be favored because it was included in the new Seattle Transit Master Plan which indicated rail could carry as many as 26,000 riders in 2030.

"This is an important step forward for expanding high-capacity transit in Seattle that makes sense for our regional network," said Mayor Mike McGinn, also a Sound Transit board member. The study will look at route alternatives, more detailed ridership estimates, construction costs and environmental issues. Funding sources include $2 million from Sound Transit, $900,000 from the FTA and $800,000 from the city. The study was originally planned for late in this decade but was advanced because officials are anxious to begin planning a co-ordinated streetcar system; the Ballard line would connect with the South Lake Union and First Hill streetcars.


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