Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seattle secures funding to design First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension

Construction on Seattle's First Hill Streetcar project. Construction on Seattle's First Hill Streetcar project.

Seattle, Wash., has secured funding to plan and design the First Hill Streetcar line's Broadway Extension.

With $850,000 in federal funds secured and another $900,000 pending final approval, the city will have sufficient funds to fully design a half-mile line extension sought by the Capitol Hill community.

The project will extend the line into Broadway's retail core and better support its residents by moving the terminus from Denny Way to Roy Street or beyond.

"This is good news for expanding transit in Seattle," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "The community did a great job detailing why this extension helps better support the neighborhood. I want to thank community stakeholders and city staff for working to make this possible, winning these two grants to plan for extending the First Hill Streetcar on north Broadway."

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is currently constructing the First Hill Streetcar line with funding provided by Sound Transit from the Sound Transit 2 measure.

On October 25, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) adopted its Regional Transportation Improvement Program, which included $850,000 of Federal Transit Administration funds for the first phase of design and preliminary engineering for the Broadway Extension. By securing the funds through this competitive process, SDOT can begin its design process for the extension in early 2013.

Additionally, PSRC's Regional Project Evaluation Committee has recommended that Seattle receive $900,000 in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds to complete the design work. Final approval and award of these funds is scheduled to occur in early December.

With the extension's planning and design work expected to cost $3 million through final design, Seattle has potentially secured $1.75 million in federal funds via these two competitive grants. The remaining $1.25 million will be covered by the city of Seattle using local funds.

When completed, the line currently under construction will allow riders to easily travel between neighborhoods on Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, the Central Area, the Chinatown/International District and Pioneer Square and better access Link light-rail service.

The extension's total project cost is estimated to be $25 million.

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