Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)
9/22/2005 12:00:00 PM
Statement from Mayor Greg Nickels on the Seattle Monorail:
“A week ago, I pulled the Transit Way Agreement because I wanted the Seattle Monorail Project to face up to the fundamental problem that has plagued the agency for more than two years. There is simply not enough money to build the project.
“The City Council has joined me by endorsing that action today.
“Without a Transitway Agreement, the monorail can not be built in the City of Seattle. Without that agreement, I don’t believe the monorail can execute a contract with Cascadia.
“A February ballot is too late for the taxpayers. It will waste $1 million a week - plus the costs of a special election -- and may put the fate of the monorail in the hands of the state legislature instead of where it belongs - the voters of Seattle.
“Also, the monorail could be forced to start the entire bidding process all over again, adding another two years and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars before a spade of dirt is turned.
“The time to act is now. Give the voters of Seattle a say in this matter. Until they decide the monorail’s fate, I will not allow Seattle’s streets to be torn apart for a project that is not in the best interests of the city or its taxpayers.”
The following is background on the issue:
The agency recognized in the summer of 2003 it was collecting far less (30% less) revenue from the car tab tax than anticipated. The decision not to address that substantial shortfall at the time led to the 50-year, $11.4 billion financing plan that the board wisely rejected in June.
At the time, it was clear ito the mayor that the monoral needed to restore public confidence, identify new leadership, and ask the voters of Seattle -- the people who created the project -- whether they would be willing to pay more in taxes or accept a shorter line than promised.
Six weeks ago, the mayor sent a letter to the Monorail Board setting a clear deadline of Sept. 15 to address the underlying financial issues. Despite the clear and unambiguous expectations, the proposal presented last week failed to do that.
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