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Seattle's new streetcars may be too big for current tracks

The new streetcars planned for Seattle may be too big for the current tracks and maintenance barn, according to a report released by the Mayor's office.

Seattle's new streetcars may be too big for the existing tracks, according to a review released by the office of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The review, conducted by audit service KPMG, finds the new streetcars are heavier, longer, and wider than the current streetcars.

A spokesperson for Durkan says, "When increased capital and operating costs were apparent, she put the brakes on and called for this independent review."

The mayor halted streetcar construction in March and ordered the city to evaluate costs of the project. The original budget was estimated at $177 million, but a $23 million shortfall with the "City Center Connector" put the new estimate at $200 million.

Durkan's office said in a statement Tuesday: "To ensure full transparency and accountability in this project, the City will be releasing the KPMG report to the public once finalized."

Meanwhile, mom and pop shops in Pioneer Square say their businesses are taking a financial hit while the project is stalled.

Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold posted a statement regarding the streetcar project: "It’s disappointing to hear this—these issues of accountability need to be dealt with much earlier, and they highlight the need for the increased Capital Project Oversight the Council has been working on."

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