City of Seattle, WA

09/26/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/26/2017 11:51

SDOT Selects Company to Provide 10 New Streetcars for Center City Connector Project


September 26, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Norm Mah, Public Relations Supervisor, 206.684.8114

SDOT Selects Company to Provide 10 New Streetcars for Center City Connector Project

US-built, battery-powered streetcars to serve expanded Seattle Streetcar system

SEATTLE - The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) selected CAF USA to provide 10 new modern streetcar vehicles as part of the Center City Connector project. CAF USA was selected among three vendors through a competitive process based on technical merit and price. The company has produced rail vehicles and streetcars for numerous European cities as well as Amtrak and American streetcar and light rail systems in Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Houston.

The Center City Connector Streetcar line is projected to carry more than 25,000 average weekday riders and will link the existing South Lake Union and First Hill Streetcar lines, creating a system that will connect over a dozen Seattle neighborhoods in the center city. The Center City Connector also provides convenient transfers to the Third Avenue transit corridor at both ends of downtown Seattle, Link Light Rail at multiple downtown transit tunnel stations, Sounder Commuter Rail at King Street Station, and ferry and water taxi docks. All of which leads to a more complete Seattle Streetcar system that meets the week-day demands of more than 800,000 commuters and residents who travel the city daily. With frequent stops to popular Seattle points of interests, the Center City Connector serves as a reliable transit mode providing riders an easy way to travel to work and plus shop and dine along the way, without having to plan for parking or multiple transfers.

Scott Kubly, SDOT Director

'By linking existing streetcar investments, the Center City Connector will provide a streetcar system that takes people where they want to go - from the 10 million Pike Place Market visitors to the 4 million Colman Dock passengers; is easy-to-use for a variety of trip purposes; and serves major visitor destinations like Pioneer Square, CenturyLink Field and the International District.'

The new streetcars are based on CAF's URBOS platform and will feature a 100% low-floor design, which will increase accessibility inside the vehicles by eliminating stairs. The streetcars will also feature a hybrid battery-driven propulsion system, allowing the vehicles to run both under existing streetcar trolley wire and along wireless segments of the expanded Seattle Streetcar system.

Andrew Glass Hasting, SDOT Director of Transit and Mobility

'CAF USA brings the necessary blend of technological expertise and service-proven success to our efforts to expand Seattle's streetcar network through the Center City Connector project.'

Each streetcar will cost $4.5 million and will be built at CAF USA's assembly plant in Elmira, NY in accordance with federal Buy America requirements. The total contract price is approximately $52 million and includes system support, spare parts, and special tooling.

Jitendra Tomar, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development CAF

'CAF is delighted to work with and have the confidence of such a large urban center like Seattle, we look forward to delivering a world-class street car for a world class city.'

Center City Connector Project Background

The Seattle Center City Connector is a new 1.27-mile streetcar linking the existing South Lake Union Streetcar and the First Hill Streetcar lines through downtown Seattle. The project serves the growing demand for trips into, from and through the center city by offering a travel mode that is reliable and easy to use. Eighty-five percent of the new track will feature an exclusive transit lane, a design unique for modern streetcars in the U.S. Included in the project are a turn-around track in South Lake Union, four new stations, relocating/reconstructing the Westlake Station, modifying the Occidental Station, 10 streetcar vehicles capable of operating in off-wire segments, and expanding the existing operation and maintenance facility in South Lake Union.

Center City Connector Service Hours and Frequency

Service will operate from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. The Center City Connector will operate with up to 5-minute headways between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends), and 7.5-minute headways at other times.

Center City Connector Funding Background

In 2012 the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provided SDOT a $900,000 grant to conduct the initial planning and analysis for the project. The Seattle City Council approved the Locally Preferred Alternative via Resolution 31526 in June 2014. In July 2014, the Federal Transit Administration approved the City of Seattle's request for entry into project development (See FTA Letter). Last year, President Obama's Fiscal Year 2017 budget recommended a $75M-Small Starts Grant to fund the Center City Connector, and Congress subsequently appropriated $50M to the project in the Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus spending bill. SDOT and the FTA plan to sign the Small Starts Grant Agreement for the full $75M late this year and it's anticipated the remaining $25M will be appropriated as part of the 2018 Federal Fiscal Year budget. The project will include a total of more than $83M in Federal Funding, including the original planning grant and a grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council for the streetcars. Procurement of new streetcars signals a major milestone for this keystone line of Seattle's streetcar system. The project will officially break ground in Mid-October.