Transit Hero Featured In Seattle Column

This column deals with two Seattle issues: one political - the victory of a transit measure on Nov. 4 that will direct $18 billion to light rail; the other human - a Sierra Club activist who made the campaign for Prop 1 a full time job.

A year ago "the Sierra Club, practically alone, opposed a massive roads and rail plan. Mike O'Brien argued the roads portion was poison. After voters turned it all down, I sent O'Brien a nasty e-mail, congratulating him for joining the ranks of backward Seattleites who have denied the city rapid transit for generations."

"Nine months ago (O'Brien) quit his job as chief financial officer of the corporate law firm Stokes Lawrence so he could push for (a better transit measure) full time. For no pay."

"The vote Nov. 5 (sic) to tax ourselves $17.8 billion for light rail was a watershed. Not only did it end 40 years of dithering about rapid transit, but the landslide win sent the clearest message yet to any future roads plans: Be green, or be dead."

"Anything green wins - from buses to rail to HOV lanes. Or, as we're probably about to find out, congestion tolling."

"It's a huge story, a major shift in the way this city thinks and lives," (O'Brien) said, after rolling up to a downtown coffeehouse on his bicycle the other day. "What's exciting is that it's coming from the bottom up. The public intuitively gets it better than the politicians."

Thanks to John Holtzclaw

Full Story: Green fever colors the future of roads

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