Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)
SUBJECT: Nickels Cancels Support of Monorail
9/16/2005 2:00:00 PM
Nickels Cancels Support of Monorail
Asks Council to put advisory measure on November’s ballot
SEATTLE - Mayor Greg Nickels today withdrew support for building the Seattle Monorail Project, citing a risky financial plan that did not protect taxpayers or the city.
The mayor also asked the City Council to take the unusual step of putting an advisory measure on the November ballot asking whether the people of Seattle believe the monorail project should continue in light of the risks now known.
“Put simply, the monorail does not have enough money to pay for the project,” Nickels said, a day after the monorail board met his Sept. 15 deadline to present a new plan. “The financing plan presented to me is not prudent. It relies on a risky assumption that money from car tabs will grow faster than expert economists consider reasonable. You can’t solve a real revenue problem with rosy projections.”
Nickels said he will exercise his authority to cancel the Transit Way Agreement. But said it was vital that the people of Seattle, who voted four times to build the monorail, have the ultimate say in whether it continues to exist.
The mayor asked Council President Jan Drago to call an emergency session next Thursday to approve the measure. The timing gives the monorail board one more chance to put its own measure on the November ballot.
“Jan Drago has shown fiscal accountability, integrity and leadership in her handling of the monorail,” Nickels said. “She understands the public confidence is critical to making progress on transportation.”
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