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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Seattle Mayor Durkan halts streetcar project over cost concerns

The project could be facing a $23 million funding shortfall.
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Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has halted all work related to the Center City Connector streetcar project pending an independent review of its proposed cost.

Last week, Durkan called for an independent technical review of the proposed costs of the project. In conducting a preliminary assessment, it was discovered that the project could face a "significant capital shortfall," according to a press release issued by Durkan's office. The release didn't state who or what organization conducted the assessment.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is overseeing the streetcar project, which would be operated by King County Metro.

"The city of Seattle has a critical obligation to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and an equal obligation to transparency," said Durkan. "There are too many questions about the true costs of this project and the risks to taxpayers, which is why we must put the brakes on this project."

The Center City Connector line started as a $150 million project several years ago, but is now estimated to cost more than $200 million, The Seattle Times reported. The investigation's preliminary findings indicate that the project faces a $23 million shortfall.

Despite Durkan's order to halt all Center City Connector projects, work on seismically vulnerable water mains will continue, according to the mayor's press release.

The city in fall 2017 awarded a $50 million contract to Spanish manufacturer CAF for 10 streetcars.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/3/2018