WA: Seattle Wins Federal Grant for Downtown Streetcar Project, Supports Mayor McGinn's Plan to Connect Neighborhoods with High Capacity Transit

The following information was released by the city of Seattle:

The Federal Transit Administration today announced the city of Seattle has won a $900,000 grant to study a high capacity transit project, such as a rapid streetcar, through the heart of downtown Seattle. The project would connect existing and proposed high-density neighborhoods to one another and the regional transit system. The current Seattle Transit Master Plan shows that a rail system on this corridor could generate approximately 10,000 new transit riders in Seattle Center City by 2030.

"The federal government took a close look at our proposal and believes the project is a good investment in moving people quickly and reliably through downtown and to our neighborhoods," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. "Combined with rail planning money I have proposed in the 2012 budget and funding from other sources, this brings us closer to expanding our streetcar network and giving people better transportation choices."

"I'm pleased that Seattle has been selected to receive this grant to help the city plan responsibly for its future high-capacity transit needs," said Congressman Jim McDermott. "This will put Seattle in a better position to compete for transit dollars, and the family-wage construction jobs that will come with them when Congress passes the American Jobs Act. I take great pride in being able to support continued investment in critically needed projects like these that plan, maintain and improve our city's transportation systems."

The study will examine the benefits, costs, and impacts of implementing an urban circulator in the corridor between the Lower Queen Anne, Uptown, and South Lake Union neighborhoods to the north, and the King Street Station and International District Multimodal Hub on the south end of downtown. The selected alignment will have the potential to connect all three of Seattle's multimodal transportation hubs, King Street and International District Stations, Colman Dock, and Westlake Center.

Mayor McGinn's 2012 proposed budget also invests $1.5 million to start planning to connect Seattle's neighborhoods with high capacity transit, including rail. The federal grant would augment this funding and help move plans for the downtown connector closer to completion.