Who often doesn’t make an $8M mistake? Seattle DOT “mislead” council about true costs of streetcar project

shocked face

From MyNorthwest.com: The Seattle Department of Transportation provided misleading information about the cost to operate an expanded streetcar network to the Federal Transit Authority and the city council, according to King County Metro.

A document obtained by The Seattle Times outlines a “concerning” situation.

SDOT appears to have ignored Metro’s estimated labor cost for streetcar O & M by $8 million and submitted information to the FTA and to the Seattle City Council that significantly underestimates the annual cost of operating the Seattle streetcar system when C3 is added.

“Metro’s Rail Section has communicated to SDOT information that contradicts published information about estimated labor costs for Streetcar operations staffing, but neither FTA nor the Seattle Council appear to be aware of contradictory information,” the document states.

Essentially, SDOT’s labor cost estimates were much too low. According to the document, SDOT assumed it would cost just over $16 million to operate the line. A total of $8.15 million was budgeted for staffing. Metro says more staff is needed to meet the expectations put in place by SDOT. It will cost an estimated $8 million more to pay for additional staff — raising total operating costs to $24 million.

Metro is concerned because it will be running the system.

It’s yet another black mark for the Center City Connector project that will cost an estimated $177 million. It will add a 1.2-mile streetcar tack that connects the line in South Lake Union and First Hill line.

The project broke ground last year. City leaders questioned the project just days before crews began their work. The concerns raised then are what sparked the financial report by SDOT that is now in question.

The price tag of $177 million was higher than initial estimates. Funding for the project includes a $75 million grant from the FTA, about $30 million from City Light for utility relocation, and $45 million from the city’s budget through 2020.

Actual ridership numbers are also in question. Currently under-utilized, SDOT projects the streetcar lines will get 22,000 riders per day in its first year of expanded service. By 2035, 30,000 riders will ride the streetcars.


17 responses to “Who often doesn’t make an $8M mistake? Seattle DOT “mislead” council about true costs of streetcar project

  1. Reminds me of the underestimated enrollment numbers and costs of Obamacare. They just think they can continue to sell us snake oil.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Reblogged this on On the Patio and commented:

    let me see … Seattle, bogus funds for a project and how the Seattle taxpayers will foot the bill and they will more than likely leave the asshats in place! Just frickin peachy guys! Enjoy more Seattle nonsense.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Isn’t it just strange that they ALWAYS underestimate the cost of these projects, and consequently OVERESTIMATE the total number of people who are willing to ride these proposed projects. We see it all over, in CA with BART, in Portland, OR with their TriMet ligh rain lines, and now in Seattle. Unfortunately, the poor voters get stuck with people who must be ignorant, dumbos who access the cost vs utilization of these various projects. It is always the poor taxpayers who get stung in the end.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Remember the Seattle monorail project? They spent $125M taxpayer dollars before dissolving after building NOTHING. Voters there never learn…


      Liked by 2 people

      • DCG . . . Please, please pull me out of the pit I have dug, please change the words “UNDERESTIMATE the total number of people . . . to OVERESTIMATE!! Hopefully folks knew that I had just experienced a senior moment when I wrote that.

        You are absolutely correct . . . when do we ever hear of a project coming in ON TIME, and ON BUDGET!!! It just does not happen in today’s world.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, how about the ‘SLUT”? Remember, “ride the SLUT”? For those who aren’t “in the know”, that’s the Seattle Light Utility Train (or something like that). Originally it started nowhere and ended nowhere. Eventually they made it all the way to the airport. There they get to shoot dead transients who didn’t pay for a ticket.

        The people who are attracted to these positions are all alike. They want that “grant money”. They hope for a big payday and “devil take the hindmost” when it comes to actual costs.

        They have been tunneling under the Alaska Viaduct allegedly due to earthquake instability. They got the boring machine stuck for YEARS! I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what THAT cost.

        For the cost of these New Age future visions they could buy all the residents a personal Uber and a Somali to drive it.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. You need not go so far, the Miami pedestrian overpass bridge collapse that crushed innocent victims cost millions to us the taxpayers. There could have been other alternatives instead of 950 tons of concrete. Apply that ole adage “money talks bullshit walks”! Government millionaires abound in the county.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I read that Miami and its inspectors are very corrupt. Must be lots of govt millionaires in Miami…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alma . . . . That is such a tragedy. Somebody is going to pay big time, once the lawsuits get going. I cannot blame anyone who lost a loved on in this nonsensical tragedy. Why would any city/state pay the kids of big bucks to provide a walkway of this magnitude? This really seems pretty much out there ……….

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Would I lie to You? Lost of government millionaires multiply it twice the amount of poors in Miami.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Poor little Seattle,🙄 They can do nothing right. From perverts in leadership positions to inept fools running the books. When will the voters wake up?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I have more than a little experience when it comes to goobermint construction/transportation projects – local, state and federal.

    My first rule is multiply the cost estimate by a factor of four.

    -And that is just a starting point.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The mayor has ordered an independent review of the project costs. The “independent” review will consist of people from the City of Seattle budget office, the Seattle City Council staff and a third-party expert.

    Sounds extremely “independent,” not.


    Liked by 3 people

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