Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Seattle mayor nominates new head of city's transportation department

Seattle streetcar
Elaine Thompson
The Associated Press

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has nominated a new head of the city's Department of Transportation. Sam Zimbabwe has worked for the trasnportation department in Washington, D.C. for seven years, most recently as chief project delivery officer.  

Zimbabwe says Washington, D.C., and Seattle have a lot in common.

"We've had some of the same challenges of meeting the day-to-day needs of a citizenry while the city is literally under construction," he said. "It's something that I relish, and something that I really look forward to." 

SDOT has been without a permanent director for a year. The vacancy has put a streetcar line on hold, and many of the projects approved in a 2015 levy have been curtailed. Durkan says the agency needs to restore credibility.

"So we squared with the public and said that we don't have the money to build all those projects, but what we will do is go back to each one of the boards that oversees portions of the projects and have them help us prioritize."  

There's no official date for a confirmation vote from the Seattle City Council, but Durkan says she hopes it happens by mid-January.

Kari Plog is a former KNKX reporter who covered the people and systems in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties, with an emphasis on police accountability.