SDOT releases estimate for a new downtown Seattle streetcar line

The new line would connect the South Lake Union streetcar with the First Hill line.

A streetcar in Seattle's Pioneer Square against the backdrop of a sunset

Seattle’s two streetcar lines currently don’t have a connection between them.

Photo via @adam_noble86

Looks like unifying the Seattle streetcar system is going to be a bit more expensive than initially thought.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently released a cost assessment for building a connecting line between the South Lake Union streetcar and the First Hill line. The study showed the project would require ~$410 million and seven years to complete — a sharp increase from the $286 million SDOT estimated in 2018.

The proposal to build the First Avenue line through downtown was reinvigorated this summer as Mayor Bruce Harrell included the suggestion in his plan for revitalizing the downtown core.

Even with a bigger price tag, SDOT director Greg Spotts and other transit advocates are still optimistic about the streetcar’s future. The next step will be to see what kinds of federal grant money the city may be able to source for the project.