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Ballard-to-West Seattle monorail proposal on November ballot

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on August 4th, 2014


By Joe Veyera

The latest in a long line of monorail proposals will go to Seattle voters this November. As reported by our news partners at The Seattle Times, Magnolia activist Elizabeth Campbell and her allies collected around 9,000 signatures, well more than the 4,582 signatures needed to send her Ballard-to-West Seattle monorail proposal to the ballot. As for why the signature threshold is much lower than for other initiatives:

It takes signatures from only 1 percent of registered voters to reach the ballot under the “city transportation districts” law from 2002, which the state Legislature passed to enable a populist monorail movement.

If approved, Proposition 2 would form the Century Transportation Authority (CenTran), a new government entity controlled by an independent board of directors, with the ability to put taxpayers on the hook for bond debt. The proposition would also institute a $5 car tab fee across the city, raising approximately $2 million per year for planning work for the 16-mile line.

According to the CenTran website, if the proposition is approved, “the newly created Authority will then create a master plan to design and engineer the elevated rail system, and will complete the required environmental review for Phase 1, leading to the construction of the elevated rail system.” The actual construction of the monorail line, which is estimated by CenTran to cost around $2.4 billion, would be funded by a separate ballot measure at a later date.

To read the full story from The Seattle Times’ Mike Lindblom, click here.

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34 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 SeaSpider // Aug 4, 2014 at 10:52 am

    $2 million for studies? Didn’t we already spend a small fortune studying this? I’m all for public transit and think it’s sorely lacking in this town but I absolutely will vote against this for one simple reason: I see no reason to believe this will ever be built. Seattle has a simply amazing record of starting then stopping projects, wasting millions in the process. Until I see some sort of legislation that prohibits short-sighted voters from stopping work on projects already underway I plan to vote against ANYTHING requiring additional funding. Honestly, why does Seattle feel the need to vote on things over and over and over again? We’ve spent a decade voting on and debating transit in this town and have little to show for it. In that same time period other cities have gone out and built entire transit systems. Seattle really is proof that too much democracy can be a bad thing!

  • 2 Paul // Aug 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I, unfortunately, have to agree with SeaSpider. The monorail feasibility has been studied to death – approved 4 times by voters then ultimately killed by a 5th vote brought under questionble circumstances. Transit solutions should be built on need, an investment on the viability of the city itself, rather than the short-sighted penny pinching of voters, the majority of whom are just angry at “high taxes”, not the need to create a transit system that serves all communities equally. Stop asking us. Just DO it!

  • 3 Jesse // Aug 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Here we go again. Here’s some still-relevant info for anyone thinking about this.

  • 4 Paul // Aug 4, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Ballard: always the bridesmaid, never the bride! Despite the recent surge in condo housing, which will only lead to MUCH more density by the time any transit corridor option would be completed. It’s never about solving the problem we have NOW, but the problem we’ll have 10-20 years from now. This is the problem with reliance on voter-funding. We don’t think past the next fill-up of the gas tank.

  • 5 Bart // Aug 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    What a backwards city this is.
    When are we going to get any leaders with a backbone around here?

  • 6 Josh // Aug 5, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Studied to death? They even bought and resold the real estate the first time! They had the land between Ballard and downtown and now it is gone. The only thing that saved the taxpayers that time was land values going up between buying and selling. The people forced to sell their land might have been screwed though. Seriously, enough is enough! Elevated rail or a subway, OK. Monorail? No, not again!

  • 7 Ebra // Aug 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Yes, we need better transit connections to downtown and beyond. No, I don’t think the current proposal is the answer. Integrated transport is the only way to go, not slapping on yet another mode that doesn’t play well with the others. With this proposal – to get to the airport from Ballard, you’d have to change at Seattle Center and again at Westlake. They should study some European cities and see how they’ve done it, because these ad hoc proposals aren’t the answer.

  • 8 Brandon // Aug 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Seattle is nightmarishly overcrowded. The lightrail is slow and clunky. And only covers the eastside of the city. The westside needs to be cover also. You need some kind of bypass of the ballard bridge.
    The monorail has been goinf back and forth for over 40 years, it needs to finally leave Seattle Center.

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  • 34 redgreen eastcoast // Apr 6, 2015 at 12:48 am

    It’s become a comic classic. Seattle can’t implement a public transportation solution to save it’s life; or to solve it’s ever alarming traffic emergency. The victim of overthinking and consensus democracy.
    A monorail system with an independent council would be FAR BETTER than anything the bloated, ineffective, corrupt and laughable Sound Transit has done or is doing.
    Seattle is becoming a laughing stock. A city full of righteous greenies that can’t actually get anything done.
    Transportation will be our undoing and eventually hamper our economy to such a point that key employers leave. Pathetic.

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