The Seattle City Council this afternoon unanimously approved a bill authorizing an agreement between the city and Sound Transit to construct and operate a street car running from Union Station, through First Hill to the Capitol Hill light rail station site on Broadway. CHS reported on the bill’s passage from the council’s transportation committee here.
Transportation chair Jan Drago said the line will be completed quickly — likely before the Broadway station opens in 2016. “We will be fast-forwarding the money,” Drago said.
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen voiced his opposition to the cost of streetcars but voted for the bill. Before voting, Rasmussen called the project “another camel under the tent” toward completing a streetcar system in the city.
In addition to structuring the working agreement with Sound Transit, the bill calls for the City Council to define the line’s route and own the ongoing funding process to manage any costs overruns or renegotiation with Sound Transit.
By the agreement, Sound Transit will provide $120 million to fund construction of the line which the city will manage. Any construction overruns will be the responsibility of the city. Sound Transit will also provide $5.2 million annually for the city to operate the line starting in 2016. If the line starts running in 2013 as planned, the agreement calls for ST to annualize the funds it has set aside for operation over the longer period and pay out a smaller amount each year.