Seattle City Council
3/27/2006 4:03:00 PM
Krista Brunch (206) 684-8801
SOUTH LAKE UNION STREETCAR GETS THE GREEN LIGHT
“Streetcars are affordable and neighborhood-friendly”
SEATTLE -- The City Council gives the South Lake Union Streetcar project a green light with legislation passed today authorizing the city to execute a construction contract for up to $31.6 million. Groundbreaking is anticipated early in the summer.
The Council approved a property exchange that provides a new location for the maintenance barn (Harrison and Fairview streets rather than Fairview and Valley). This exchange could provide additional funds for the streetcar project.
“Today the City Council is taking its first step towards securing Seattle's transportation independence and controlling our transportation destiny,” said Committee Chair, Jan Drago. “Streetcars are affordable, neighborhood-friendly transit that will get people out of their cars and move them around quickly and efficiently,” she added.
The legislation acknowledges the possibility of a funding shortfall but recognizes several possible to address funding needs. These include (by priority): grant revenues; the sale of development rights adjacent to the streetcar maintenance base (Harrison and Fairview); and funds from the South Lake Union Developer Mitigation Payment Program and developer mitigation payments from other properties along the streetcar line. The legislation also clarifies that the Council can adjust the total amount of the Local Improvement District (LID) once the project is complete and the full cost and funding picture is known.
An amendment, proposed and passed today, clarifies these funding options and directs the mayor’s staff to report quarterly on the status of project implementation and finances.
“Seattle is very close to having its first new streetcar in two decades,” said Councilmember Sally Clark. “However, we still have a small but real gap in revenue to pay for it. This should give everyone clarity about what we can do in a worst-case scenario.”
“Today’s action brings us closer to a streetcar network,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin, “and solidifies the Council’s intention that the city’s general fund money will not be used for the South Lake Union Streetcar.”