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Sound Transit, Seattle work to advance First Hill streetcar line


Sound Transit and the city of Seattle are moving forward with plans to build a new streetcar  line linking the city’s First Hill neighborhood with Capitol Hill and the International District. The city and agency recently signed an agreement that calls for expediting the project so the line can open in 2013 instead of 2016, as previously planned.

The city will build and operate the new line, which voters approved as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure that passed in November 2008. The two-mile line will serve major Seattle employment centers, including Swedish Hospital, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College.

The line will have easy access to the Link light-rail system that opened this summer, as well as the Capitol Hill light-rail station, which will open when the University Link system is complete in 2016.

Sound Transit will cover a portion of the streetcar project’s cost — up to $132 million — as well as  operating costs when the line opens for service. The city will oversee the design, property acquisition and construction.

The agency and city plan to begin construction in 2012. The final route will be determined as part of the environmental review process, which will take place during the next two years.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/18/2009