The proposed rail route *IS* the most direct route (you think they're going to dig a tunnel under Mt. Rainier and build a new rail line in a perfectly straight line diagonally across the state for this? How clueless are you? Do you have the slightest connection to reality?).
Look. The "coal trains" boogeyman is a made-up, nonsense issue - it's pushed by dishonest hucksters manipulating ignorant rubes.
Here's a news flash for you: "Coal trains" go through Ballard every day. More than a few of them. Have they been bothering you a lot? They don't bother me. Where's the "coal dust" from them? Nobody can find any. It's a phony issue.
You know, I can respect someone who honestly says, their real concern is global climate change, burning coal is bad for that, and that's all they care about - they don't care about the economic impact, don't care a whit about working people losing their jobs. But none of the opponents have the balls to come out and say that (because they would be exposed as the ignorant zealots that they are). Instead, they fabricate all this nonsense about coal dust and other phony arguments. Like McGinn's sudden concern about traffic congestion mentioned upthread. Riiiiight....McGinn has always made reducing traffic congestion his top priority!
Honestly, I could actually buy the argument about the overall downsides of burning coal (I don't think that's a good idea). But I'm so tired of the the local green mafia that has been taking every opportunity to stick it to anyone who doesn't agree with 100% of their agenda, that I'm really looking forward to watching them lose this one. I've had it up to here with the enviro-liars making my life more and more difficult, and if anyone pushes back against their agenda, they tell you tough luck, they rule this city, and you have to follow their dictates.
So I'm fine with the coal trains. Bring 'em on. Lots of 'em. Dig that coal, melt the damn icecaps, and bring it on.