The First Avenue streetcar line that would link Seattle’s two existing lines has had a troubled path.

In July 2014, the Seattle City Council voted to add a streetcar line on First Avenue.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Madrona Venture Group and PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

But in March 2018, Mayor Jenny Durkan halted the streetcar expansion and ordered an independent review of its finances and ridership projections after The Seattle Times reported that costs to operate the new system could be 50% higher than what the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) had publicly stated.

How did we get here? A look back at Seattle's Center City Connector and streetcar history

Then, in January, Durkan announced her interest in continuing work on the First Avenue streetcar that would connect South Lake Union and the Chinatown International District.

Sources of funding for the line, estimated to cost $286 million, remain uncertain. It’s not clear how the city will fill a $65 million funding gap.

Last week, SDOT officials asked the City Council for $9 million to fund design work, outside consultants and staff time to align tracks with the longer and heavier streetcars the agency ordered.

As Traffic Lab reports on the potential new line, we’d like to know: What questions do you have about Seattle’s streetcars and the First Avenue project?