Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mayor Nickels stands firm on monorail deadline

In today's Times
Mayor Greg Nickels stood firm Monday on his demand that the Seattle Monorail Project decide what to do with itself by Sept. 15, keeping the pressure on the beleaguered monorail agency to come up with a salvage plan.

After an hour-long meeting described as a "frank and open discussion" with the new monorail director, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said "the deadline exists and (monorail Director John Haley) intends to meet it.

"We did not change the mayor's position," Ceis said. "They will give us something by the 15th." If the monorail doesn't do that, Nickels has said the city could refuse to grant permits the agency needs to build the line -- effectively killing the project.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Monorail in the news

In The Times
Preliminary figures released last night indicate that simply shortening the monorail line may not solve the Seattle Monorail Project's money shortage. The agency needs to find additional savings.
and an editorial in The Stranger
Critics have every right to lambaste the SMP's financial plan, but they're being disingenuous (or ignorant) when they switch into "I told you so" mode...

Seattle needs elevated rapid transit, and Seattle voters have backed it time and again. We're willing to put our trust in Seattle voters. A new campaign will force a discussion of what's really at issue—the financial plan, not the concept or technology. Voters deserve an unfettered look at a finance plan that can support a system they've already approved. They don't need cynical opportunists with ulterior motives—people who've lost on this issue over and over again—hijacking the debate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Accountability is target of monorail resolutions

The PI is reporting of SMP board-member Cleve Stockmeyer's two steps toward accountability: board elections and ruling out tax a increase
Steps will be taken today toward having voters elect most members of the Seattle monorail agency board and to committing that board to reject tax increases as a way to solve the problems the line is facing.

Resolutions will be offered by Cleve Stockmeyer, one of two elected board members, who said the recent blowup over the monorail project and its financing makes the timing right for the change...

Last week Stockmeyer said there's no apparent public support for a tax increase. Seattle residents currently pay a 1.4 percent motor vehicle excise tax to pay for the West Seattle-to-Crown Hill monorail they approved in 2002.

The resolution also will ask staff to draft an alternative proposal to have all members elected, Stockmeyer said.

Currently all but two of the nine-member Seattle Monorail Project board are appointed -- nominated either by the board itself, the mayor or the City Council. Stockmeyer's proposal would have five members elected.

Friday, August 12, 2005

2045 Seattle in the news

2045 Seattle gets some local news coverage from KOMO, and from Q13 TV a few nights ago.
"I wonder in 40 years, what am I gonna leave behind and I wonder if there is gonna be some kid who makes a Web site to yell at me if I didn't do a good job, I feel like we're making our own history now."

Because he's worried about will happen 40 years from now, he's named his website www.2045Seattle.org. He hopes other young people will get on board. He says not enough of his generation is involved.
2045's meta coverage here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Seattle mayor gives monorail board an ultimatum

Mayor Greg Nickels today gave the Seattle Monorail Project a Sept. 15 deadline to craft a ballot measure to pay for the financially distressed project.

In a letter to the monorail's governing board, he said uncertainty over the elevated line could harm other efforts to fix the area's transportation problems.

"If the SMP Board is unable to take decisive action the City of Seattle will have to independently determine if continuance of the monorail project is in the best interests of our city," the letter said.

There are really only two choices, he said: seek higher taxes to construct the entire 14-mile Green Line from Ballard to West Seattle, or shorten the line.
There are far more than two choices, including subsidizing the cost through public bonds and station sponsorships. Hopefully SMP doesn't share Mayor Nickels' narrow view.

Monday, August 08, 2005

More on the Malaysian Bid

Short article in the Malaysian Business Times on MTrans, the 3rd prospective contractor.
MTRANS Holdings Sdn Bhd, the parent company of monorail operator KL Infrastructure Group Bhd, is keen to participate in the development of a US$1.6 billion (US$1 = RM3.75) second monorail system in the US city of Seattle.

The company is said to have conveyed its interest to develop the 22.4km monorail system for Seattle Monorail Project (SMP), an independent agency that would build, own, operate and maintain the transport system...

MTrans is one of only three urban transit monorail builders in the world, after Bombardier of Canada and Hitachi of Japan.
"Second monorail system" makes it sound like the existing monorail is actually a "system".

Thursday, August 04, 2005

SMP board meeting minutes

Shorter Christian: Re-bidding equals death, finance the current contract with "Monorail Bonds" and by selling bricks and tiles (ala Pike Place Market) at monorail stations.

Click the above link for video and transcription of his rousing speech.

later: more on yesterday's Cascadia vs. Team Monorail drama

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

2045 Seattle: Take action!

Christian Gloddy is a man with a mission. And 2045 Seattle, his new monorail movement, has the mission statement to prove it
2045 Seattle is a group of concerned Seattle citizens with two things in common: We support the construction of the Seattle Monorail and we are the younger voices largely absent from the current debate, yet we are responsible for the project's long term impact.
The site has simple instructions on making your voice heard in the community, including attending and speaking up at tonight's SMP meeting. This is a great organization that endorses finding a sensible finance plan for the monorail. I urge you all to join up and get active with 2045 Seattle. I'm glad we have young activists like Christian here in Seattle.

Seattle Monorail Hearing, First Person Account

Christian Gloddy from Obvious Diversion recounts his experience at the July 7th Monorail Hearing. He kept a count of whether each speaker was pro, anti, or undecided.
The total at the end of the evening was, as you can see in the picture, 34 who want to continue to pursue the monorail, 27 who want the monorail to meet it's death, and 11 that I just couldn't tell where they wanted the project to go. Many of the people in the third category had some great input on the situation, but didn't necessarily reveal what they thought we should do next.
He also includes video clips and quotes from some citizens.

The most poignant quote was from a young woman named Laura
"I think I'm here representing a crowd that doesn't really turn out at events like these and that's the under thirty crowd because we don't sit around and we don't make stickers about things we don't want to see. We just don't have that kind of time."
More on Christian in a few.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Citizen gifts to the monorail

This is how you can tell you have a popular transit proposal. Even though they're less than drops in the bucket for a multi-billion dollar project, Seattle citizens are making unprecedented donations to SMP
Teresa Healy...mailed a $20,000 check to the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) this month, a follow-up to her $10,000 gift two years ago...The American Public Transit Association is unaware of citizen gifts to transit agencies, spokesmen said.

The monorail also received $399 from Colleen Browne, who formerly belonged to the "Save Our Valley" group that opposed running light-rail trains at street level in South Seattle. Browne, who now lives in Burien, said she plans to make annual donations equal to what her SMP car-tab tax would be in Seattle.

Robert Casey of Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood gave $100, while 11 people donated their $15 refunds from Initiative 776, which eliminated a road fee.

Healy's gifts would cover about one-seventy-thousandth of the project.
Well, either a popular transit proposal, or a few crazy neighbors with money burning holes in their pockets.