SDOT requests $9 million for streetcar expansion engineering

The Seattle Department of Transportation is requesting $9 million for engineering work on the long-delayed Center City Connector streetcar.
The work would help refine the final cost of the streetcar, which is planned to run along First Avenue and connect to the existing South Lake Union and First Hill lines.
Last year, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan grew alarmed when streetcar work ran over budget and put a pause on the project.
She restarted it after a review showed streetcar cost estimates doubled since 2015, and there's still a $65 million funding gap.
On Tuesday, new SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe asked the City Council for $9 million for engineering work to better refine the costs.
"We think we're in a position to deliver this responsibly, so that's why we're here today requesting a small down payment," Zimbabwe told KIRO 7.
One reason costs are rising is because city officials ordered streetcars that are longer and heavier than the current ones, which will require changes like retrofitting a bridge.
In January, city officials pegged the cost of streetcar and utility construction at $286 million.
SDOT hopes to begin service in 2026, with streetcars arriving every five minutes during peak hours.

SEATTLE — More news from KIRO 7