Mayor Mike McGinn has said all along that he would like to see a light rail line from Ballard to downtown and West Seattle. Now he’s proposing that Seattle build the transit system on its own with money collected from Seattle residents.
In this Publicola article, Mayor McGinn addresses his side of the issue – that Seattle needs light rail sooner than Sound Transit can deliver. He’s estimating that Sound Transit won’t be in the black for another 14 years. Looking at Portland as an example he writes, “Portland spent $103 million on its current streetcar line. That line, in return, has generated $4 billion in private investment and more than 10,000 new residential units within 750 feet of the line. Buses simply do not generate that level of investment or have that kind of impact on surrounding land use and development patterns. Portland’s rail system helps save more than $2 billion a year in gas costs, allowing Portlanders to spend that money locally.”
On the other hand, King County Council member Julia Patterson disagrees with McGinn. Patterson writes, “After all, the world doesn’t end at a city’s limits. Seattle’s roads don’t end when they hit Tukwila and buses don’t stop on the Bellevue/Redmond border. Sound Transit’s plan creates a regional spine of light rail through King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. While it offers a long-term, regional vision—one that includes light rail for Seattle and beyond—Mayor McGinn’s Seattle-only ballot proposal offers a short-sided, parochial vision.”
Both sides offer lengthy details on why they support their opinions. Click through to read their takes on the issue.