City Releases Initial Summary of Independent Report on Seattle Streetcar

Seattle (August 31) – Following Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s order of an independent review of the Seattle Streetcar, the City of Seattle released an initial summary of findings for full transparency and accountability of anticipated capital costs as well as historical, current and future operating costs. In early March, the Mayor was notified that there were concerns about increases in capital and possible operating costs. Before moving forward on this project, Mayor Durkan wanted an independent review to answer the following questions:

  • What are the capital costs of building the C3 streetcar?
  • How much has the City spent on the project thus far? What would be the additional capital costs to not move forward?
  • What are historical, current and forecasted operations and maintenance (O&M) costs of the SLU, First Hill and C3 streetcar lines?
  • What are the historical and current ridership numbers and future ridership assumptions on the current lines and proposed C3?
  • What are the long-term financial projections for the streetcar, including agency contributions and sponsorships?
  • What are the risks to the City for moving forward? Not moving forward?

Following the initial review, the independent review found the following:

 

Option Summary
Build with current service plan •Annual Ridership in Year 5 of Operations: 5.8M (Low) to 6.9M (High)

•Annual operating expenses (with contributions) in Year 5 of Operations:($2.6M) deficit to $1.9M surplus

•Net annual operating expenses (without contributions) in Year 5 of Operations: ($9.9M) to ($5.4M) deficit

•Total capital expenses: $252.4M (includes $31M spent as of May 2018)

Build with alternative service plan •Annual Ridership in Year 5 of Operations: 5.4M (Low) to 6.3M (High)

•Annual operating expenses (with contributions) in Year 5 of Operations: $2.7M to $6.1M surplus

•Annual operating expenses (without contributions) in Year 5 of Operations: ($4.7M) to ($1.2M) deficit

•Total capital expenses: $241.9M (includes $31M spent as of May 2018)

No build with current service plan •Ridership in Year 5 of Operations: 1.5M (Low) to 1.8M (High)

•Annual operating expenses (with agency and sponsorship contributions): ($0.1M) deficit to $1.9M surplus

•Annual operating expenses (without agency and sponsorship contributions): ($7.4M) to ($5.4M) deficit

•Total capital expenses: $55.4M (includes $31M spent as of May 2018)

Concurrently with KPMG’s review, the Durkan Administration has also learned that the streetcar vehicles procured for the C3 are heavier and longer and have a different dynamic envelope than the existing SLU and First Hill streetcars. KPMG and SDOT recommended additional engineering analysis and design work to review necessary design changes to integrate the full streetcar system, including, but not limited to platform design, rail vehicle suitability (rail car length, weight and dynamic envelope) current platforms and C3 platform design.  This work began August 2018 and will be used to develop a revised scope and cost estimate for the project and will continue into the Fall.

No final decision will be made by Mayor Durkan on the project until costs, feasibility, litigation risks, and community impacts are understood. In the coming weeks, Mayor Durkan will continue to seek public and stakeholder input on the opportunities and challenges moving forward and evaluate budget options moving forward.

###