June 30, 2005
This just in
Sen. Ken Jacobsen has sent a letter to the governor asking her to convene a special session to terminate the Seattle Monorail project.
The letter, courtesy of Sen. Jacobsen's office, is posted here.
UPDATE: Someone from a legislature IP address posted the text of the letter in the comments before I received the official copy. The commenter added that "Senator Jacobsen is requesting other members to send a letter as well." It wouldn't be a bad idea to contact your own legislators to encourage them to join Sen. Jacobsen -- even if you don't live in Seattle. The Monorail's unrealistic financing proposal puts the entire state at risk.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 30, 2005
03:31 PM | Email This
June 30, 2005
Governor Christine Gregoire
200 Legislative Building
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504
re: Request for Special Legislative Session
Dear Governor Gregoire;
I respectfully request that you exercise your authority under Article 2, Section 12 of the Washington State Constitution to convene a special legislative session to terminate the Seattle Monorail Project.
As you are probably aware, the Seattle Monorail Project has become the subject of increasing scrutiny by State Auditor Brian Sonntag and State Treasurer Mike Murphy. I also have serious concerns about the projectís management and its fiscal impact on the City of Seattle. Recently, I have requested both a fiscal and performance audit of the project.
Although the Monorail was approved by a majority of Seattle voters, there are known financial shortfalls and the actual project cost has become a moving target. With the announcement by Monorail officials of an additional $9 billion dollars in interest payments, costs have now ballooned to $11 billion for the 14-mile elevated train. Principal and interest payments on the project would last the next 50 years or longer. With most of the project being financed through the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, the MVET could burden Seattle drivers, according to some projections, as far out as 2078.
The Monorail Board is now considering whether to borrow up to $350 million to cover the next phase of planning and construction. This move would obligate Seattle drivers to pay the additional 1.4 percent MVET tax for years to come, even if the project falls apart and no monorail is built.
I have further concerns with the apparent heavy reliance upon the MVET. The assumed growth of MVET can only come from increased ownership in vehicles and/or increased value in vehicles sold. I find it ironic that the monorail - designed to reduce Seattle's reliance on the automobile - will rely so heavily on continuing automobile use and valuation. If the monorail succeeds, it will undermine the very source of income upon which it will depend.
I seek your assistance in avoiding a huge disservice to the citizens of the City of Seattle. I respectfully request that you convene a special session of the legislature for the purpose of repealing the monorail's authority.
Senator Ken Jacobsen
46th Legislative District
(Senator Jacobsen is requesting other members to send a letter as well.)
2. What is the difference between this and Oly overriding I601?
Answer: fiscal restraint.
4. Many are calling for the Monorail to merge with Sound transit. EXCUSE ME! wouldn't this guarantee the entire region is directly paying for this boondoggle?
Do we really think it is such a good idea for legislature to have a special session?
I mean, the last time those bozos got together in Olympia, they raised taxes and limited our civil liberties.
They might well decide to tack on another 9 cents of gas tax to pay for the silly monorail!
Everytime that gang gets together, those of us that earn a living start to shiver.
6. Iguana, that's exactly what I was thinking.
The difference is that I-601 was doing what voters voted for. The Monorail Project now is nothing even close to the plan voters approved of.
8. Great! Now if they'll just cut the legs out from under Sound Transit light rail we'll all be better off
OT for this post but definately on topic for the group.
The PI has posted an interesting AP interview with Rossi. Link is below:
10. Looks like the special session will be unnecessary, Licata was on hte Dave ROss show and said he knows the SMP board is going to pull hte current proposal tonight.
Pull the current proposal?
Shiiiii ... I'd feel a lot better if they would pull the damn MVET tax and leave us all alone.
Senator Jacobson is in no way a reliable voice of fiscal rectitude. He loftily ignored all the bait-and-switch aspects of Sound Transit, its obscene cost overruns and pitiful minimum train offered as a substitute, and resisted all attempts to give the voters a second whack at an up-down vote on the cheezy system we are now stuck with.
He also resisted the Monorail back in its most optimistic days, because it might compete for funds or right of way with his beloved Sound Transit. In other words, he's happily slipping a dirk between its ribs to rid his preferred boondoggle of competition.
13. Unforunately yes, just the current proposal. That will allow them to keep the MVET in place and collect 6 figure salaries for at least another 9 months.
14. I know Jacobsen did the right thing in his request to kill the Monorail I'm just not sure if they will listen to him.
15. I agree the monorail is absurd, but it WAS voted on by the people. It hasn't turned out quite what was expected, granted. Can't our heroes in Oly say the same thing about I601 - the financial situation was not what was really expected so we, the all-knowing politicians, are going to step in and change your minds. The Dems must be salivating that reps are pushing for this. If we think it is wrong for politicians to override a vote, it is wrong. Do something to the perpetrators of the scam, have an outcry to vote AGAIN on the toy, but don't say it is good to override a vote when we don't like the outcome of the vote.
HMMMMMM, Let's see: that's
% 14 miles
= $785,714,285 per mile
% 5280 feet
= $148,809 per foot!
SHEESH! Those rails must be platinum.
* Numbers are rounded for easier interpretation, and it's Friday ;0D
Conservatives are teh funny. They think government should stay close to the voters...until voters in a jurisdiction do something they don't like, at which point, uh-oh, call in the state or the feds.
I'm pretty sure the monorail folks will figure it out. They know 11 billion won't fly, and their current financing's screwed, so they can either go back to the voters for one that isn't pie in the sky, or shut it down- and either way the voters will have the power to pull the plug, either through their vote or through their representatives on the City Council. Viva democracy!
Viva La Republica!
This isn't a democracy - never been one. Part of the checks and balances built into the system allows for oversight. Like when stupid or misguided decisions have a mushrooming effect that goes way beyond the scope of their original intent.
But you are right - "Conservatives are "teh" funny!
Gotta hand it to him.
teh eponymous coward is consistent.