Legislation that lays out a funding plan to build and operate the 1.3-mile-long South Lake Union streetcar passed a city council committee on Tuesday, overcoming objections by council members Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata. The ordinance authorizes the creation of a so-called Local Improvement District, under which businesses will tax themselves to help pay the estimated $47.5 million cost of the streetcar; places some restrictions on the use of city funds to pay for the costs of building and running the line; and allows up to $3.9 million in proceeds from the sale of city property in South Lake Union to be spent paying for the streetcar if private funding and federal grants don't come through or if the project goes over budget.

An amendment by Licata to require a study of transportation needs citywide before allocating limited Metro hours to the streetcar failed, as did a Steinbrueck proposal that would have cut the contingency fund to $2.9 million and used the remaining $1 million for bike and pedestrian improvements. "My concern really has to do with protecting the city against escalating costs while at the same time assuring that our other priorities for transportation will be duly met," Steinbrueck said. His amendment failed, 4-3. ■