Transit Proposal Also Funds Roads, Putting Voters In A Pickle

A proposal to expand Seattle's light rail system also includes provisions for extensive road construction, putting transit advocates in the awkward position of voting for both transit and roads.

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October 1, 2007, 6:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg


In Seattle recently, environmentalists and transit advocates raised their voices to argue in favor of an "$11 billion proposal that would pay for 50 new miles of light rail throughout the Puget Sound region. Light-rail supporters, including district treasurer Jason Bennett and Futurewise field director Megan Blanck-Weiss, argued that the vote might represent the region's last chance to fund a massive light-rail expansion."

"But despite the environmentalists' efforts, the measure failed to win endorsement-an echo of the previous night's executive board meeting, where a proposal to support endorsing the measure outright ended in a stalemate, with "pro" votes outnumbering "cons" by only 13 to 9."

"Why would the liberal 36th reject a proposal that indisputably would change Seattle's transit picture for the better? Because that rail expansion comes saddled with hundreds of new miles of pavement, including expansion of I-405 on the Eastside and a larger SR-520 bridge across Lake Washington. In all, the light-rail package is linked to $7 billion in road expansion and improvement projects, making it difficult for some environmentalists-and others who just don't want to see taxes increase to pay for roads-to support."

Friday, September 28, 2007 in The Seattle Stranger

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