Center City Connector streetcar recommended for $75 million grant

Today the City of Seattle’s Center City Connector Streetcar Project was recommended for a $75 million grant in President Obama’s 2017 Budget. The project would link the existing South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcar lines, creating a system that would connect over a dozen Seattle neighborhoods in Seattle’s Center City.

If approved by Congress, this $75 million grant would be one of the largest federal grants the City has received for a transportation project in recent history.

“Seattle thanks President Obama and our Congressional delegation for the incredible support so far for downtown transit,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We look forward to working with our supporters in Congress to change how downtown residents, workers and visitors move around the urban core. With a dedicated lane for the new streetcar, as well as connections to existing streetcar lines and transit hubs, the Center City Connector would deliver frequent, reliable service for thousands of riders every day.”

By linking existing streetcar investments, the Center City Connector is designed to provide a seamless streetcar system that will serve major visitor destinations, employment centers, and areas where the city is experiencing significant growth. The fully integrated system is projected to carry up to 30,000 average weekday riders.

Once completed, the Connector will serve Seattle’s three intermodal hubs at Westlake, Colman Dock and King Street Station. The system would provide convenient transfers to the Third Avenue Transit Spine at both ends of Downtown, to Link Light Rail via multiple Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel station entries, and to Sounder Commuter Rail at King Street Station.

The project would:

  • Address current and future mobility needs for residents, workers and tourists
  • Meet the growth in demand for Center City circulation trips
  • Address constraints on expansion of Center City transportation
  • Provide affordable transportation access to key social and human services located in the Center City
  • Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from vehicles and traffic congestion

“With these critical grant funds, we can connect our South Lake Union and First Hill lines and create a far reaching streetcar system for Seattle,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “I would like to express my appreciation to the Obama Administration and Washington’s congressional delegation for supporting this important project.”

The line is estimated to cost $135 million and the City will present funding options for its local match later this year. The local match will include $6.8 million in previously appropriated funds, $17.8 million in utility funded improvements, and $34.4 million in City Capital Improvement Program funds. The City also previously received a $900,000 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant. Pending congressional appropriation of Small Starts Grant funding, the City will work with FTA to complete an agreement for these grant funds.

Additional information about the Center City Connector can be found here:  http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/centercity.htm.

To review the successful Small Starts application for the line, please visit:  http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/docs/CCCSmallStartsApplication10-23-2015.pdf.