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Council News Release

9/23/2005  1:25:00 PM

McIver Resolution faces reality and takes decisive action

SEATTLE -The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution led by Richard McIver this morning that supports the Mayor's cancellation of the Transit Way Agreement and states Council's resolve not to allow City Departments to issue project construction permits.

Last night, the Seattle Public Monorail Authority (SPMA) board backed away from putting a ballot measure before voters in November and did not commit to placing a measure on the February 2006 ballot.

"We can't dissolve the SPMA," said Councilmember Richard McIver, "but with a clear statement that the city will not issue permits, we can stop the money drain. It was a great dream, but the facts are in and it's time to stop the squandering of millions on pie in the sky projections. It's over." McIver put forward the resolution working with Richard Conlin. There were a total of six co-sponsors.

"I deeply fear we're passing the challenge to build a mass public transit system in Seattle to future generations," said Council President Jan Drago. "In July, I sent out an early message to SPMA to develop a feasible plan or end the tax. I'm deeply disappointed that we are where we are today. However, our first responsibly is to protect the taxpayer's of Seattle."

Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck said, "Let's not lose sight of our commitment to developing an efficient, integrated and cost effective public transit system that serves the mobility needs of the people of Seattle and the broader region."

"One million dollars a week is a lot of money," said Councilmember Richard Conlin. "For the amount of money the SMP is collecting we could provide free bus service to every bus rider in Seattle. The SMP will not face the facts of their situation so it's time for the council to take the necessary action to protect Seattle's interests."

"I'm angry," said Councilman Nick Licata, "It's not good to turn over the will of the public. But we laid out a plan and they failed to take it up. The Council intends to work with the State Legislature to withdraw authorization for the SMPA and to integrate the assets, resources and plans into a regional transit authority that can serve the transit needs of Seattle's residents."

Like many of you," said Councilmember Jean Godden, "I shared the vision of elegant monorail columns rising above the traffic. However, it has become apparent that the Green Line Project is one of those dreams that got lost. I have become convinced that it is time to cut our losses."

"In many ways, it feels like living the movie Groundhog Day," says Councilmember David Della, "where the lead character wakes up day after day after day to the same scenario. That movie had a happy ending though: the character was finally able to wake up to a new day. It is time for Seattle to stop living this dream transformed into a nightmare and wake up."

"The people of Seattle deserve-and need effective mass transit and I am committed to that goal," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "But the time has come to end this project today in order to move Seattle forward for tomorrow."

Councilmember Jim Compton said, "This is not a precipitous decision. It's been a long time coming. We listened and we searched our souls. We are not diminished in our determination for a mass transit plan. But SPMA has squandered a giant mandate and has created this moment where we look at no plans and no leadership. The Council must act."


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