We’re more than a little bit late on this, but the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog has great coverage of a recent city council meeting that covered moving the opening of the First Hill Streetcar up by up to four years earlier than the planned 2016 opening date. The city says it can build the line for cheaper than expected if built earlier, which may encourage the Sound Transit Board to approve funding. The First Hill Streetcar will be funded by Sound Transit, but constructed and operated by the Seattle Department of Transportation.
The First Hill Streetcar was approved by voted last November in the ST2 plan. Once built, it will connect Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the International District via Broadway and Jackson. It would terminate near the International District Link light rail station, extending the reach of Link into the jobs-heavy First Hill neighborhood and the dense Capitol Hill area.
In an interview with Seattle Transit Blog, the city said that even though ST isn’t planning to fund operating costs before 2016, efficiencies learned from operating the South Lake Union Streetcar could allow ST to pay for the operations earlier than budgeted.
And why do we want a streetcar linking Capitol Hill, First Hill, and the International District? Check out 10 Reasons to Love a Streetcar in the Austin Chronicle.