March 06, 2004
In 1996, Puget Sound voters approved a regional transit plan that would provide a 21-mille light rail line extending from northern Seattle to SeaTac airport by 2006. It didn't quite work out that way:
By late 2000, however, the project was $1 billion over budget and three years behind schedule.
So, in November 2001, the Sound Transit board downsized the project to a 14-mile line from downtown Seattle to Tukwila [a few miles short of the airport], to be finished in 2009.
Not exactly what the voters approved. Nevertheless, the Washington Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday that such wild changes to the package sold to the voters is perfectly legal. But the dissenting opinion cautioned:
It gives proponents of a measure "almost unfettered discretion to (do) whatever they want regardless of what the resolution submitted to the people promises to the people,"
And speaking of unsound bait-and-switch transportation projects, this is a good time to do your part to help kill the Monorail.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 06, 2004 05:35 PM
Hey, Shark thanks for taking a shot at the ridiculous Sound Transit fiasco. Whenever you have a go at the monorail, I always comment along the lines 'Yea, but Sound Transit is worse'. So now that you've 'seen the light' (transit), I've got to send you kudos, don't I?
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Once it's clear that they don't have the money to deliver as promised, there seem to be two options:
(1) Spend more money
(2) Cut back the deliverables
Yes, in a better world they'd go after the proponents for additional money, but we don't live in such a world. Heck - they won't even go after folks who steal money from such projects.
I'm beginning to think that every public works project should have a prominent plaque listing each vote, the officials who voted and how, and the amount authorized. At the bottom, there should be a final tally, including interest.