SEATTLE — Editor's note: The above video is from an August 2019 story about $9 million appropriated for design work on the connector project.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced that it would cancel a multi-million dollar contract that allowed for the purchase of 10 new streetcars planned for the Center City Connector Line.
The goal of the project is to provide streetcar connections between South Lake Union, the waterfront, Pioneer Square, the International District and First Hill.
On Monday, SDOT announced that they had terminated their old vehicle contract with CAF USA, a New York-based company that builds streetcars.
In 2017, SDOT entered into a contract with CAF USA to build 10 new streetcar vehicles. In March 2018, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered an independent review of the streetcar project budget, and a stop-work order was issued to halt production of the vehicles before they were built.
According to SDOT, resuming work under the old vehicle contract could have significantly increased project costs due to the new project timeline.
The contract termination with CAF USA does not mean that the connector line project has been canceled. Instead, the city will examine new contract options.
A new bidding process will give companies a chance to propose plans to build vehicles that are closer to the size and weight of the existing streetcars, according to SDOT.
SDOT also said a new contract will align with the current streetcar design timeline and eliminate financial risk and uncertainty associated with the old vehicle contract schedule.
"In the coming months, we’ll be updating the design specifications for streetcar vehicles to take into account the existing vehicle market in the United States and some of our system’s specialized needs. Once this work has been done, we’ll move forward by issuing an updated Request for Proposals for streetcar procurement," according to SDOT's blog.