Update on Center City Streetcar finances

As promised, here’s an update on what more I’ve learned about the finances of the Center City Connector streetcar project.

City Budget Director Ben Noble and his staff have been very helpful this week in providing what little information they have so far in their investigation and trying to clarify ambiguities.

The original estimated cost of the project was $177.1 million, spread across SDOT, Seattle City Light (SCL), and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU). To-date, they have found $23.2 million in cost overruns in SDOT’s part of the project, which is attributed to escalating costs for both construction and vehicles. It’s still unknown whether SCL and/or SPU also have cost overruns, and that is one topic for the ongoing investigation to sort out.

$158.4M    SDOT
$8.9M      SCL
$9.8M      SPU
$23.2M     Cost overruns for SDOT
$200.3M    Total expenses

The funding for the project remains unchanged from the budget the Council approved in November:

$83.2M     Federal funding
$15.9M     SCL and SPU reimbursements to SDOT 
$59.3M     SDOT approved capital budget
$8.9M      SCL approved capital budget
$9.8M      SPU approved capital budget
$177.1M    Total funding

That leaves a $23.2 million shortfall in the capital budget for the project. On top of that, there is still an unresolved $8 million difference in opinion between Metro and SDOT as to the annual operating costs once the line is built.

We will learn more in the weeks to come, as the investigation proceeds.