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Seattle - September 2004

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Seattle — Streetcar Money OKd

Rail Transit Online, September 2004

The city council on Aug. 16 followed a recommendation of its Transportation Committee and voted to make $2.4 million in state and federal money available for preliminary design and engineering of the proposed South Lake Union Streetcar project.  In addition, lawmakers agreed to spend $200,000 to develop a special tax assessment district for property owners along the route, revenue from which will finance much of the capital cost.  The council reiterated that no general fund money will be used for the 2.6-mi. (4.18 km), $45-million trolley but said that new revenue sources could be considered.  “We want to encourage streetcar development while protecting Seattle taxpayers,” said Councilman Richard Conlin.  Supporters hope to have the line open by 2006, although a final funding package must be completed and a source of operating money found.

Meanwhile, despite apparent city council support for the extending the existing Waterfront Streetcar, the popular 20-year-old line may have to be shut down unless a new site is found for a maintenance facility.  The current building is targeted for removal as part of the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Park sculpture project.  A recently released feasibility study commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation states that “King County is conducting a separate study to identify potential new locations to maintain the Waterfront Streetcar, but does not currently have funding to relocate the facility.”  Operation of the line could also be impacted by a long-range plan to replace the deteriorated Alaskan Way viaduct, which is located above much of the streetcar’s route.  The study indicates only the extreme north and south ends of the line could remain open during the reconstruction, which could last up to 11 years. 


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