Sunday, September 18, 2005

Even Seattle's Mayor Can Be Embarrassed

If the economic irrationality gets too big to be ignored, apparently:

In another blow to Seattle's monorail project, a once-supportive Mayor Greg Nickels on Friday withdrew the city's support for the proposal, saying he was no longer convinced it was financially viable.

That would be the project that had an $11-1/2 billion finance plan over 50 years. The mayor wasn't impressed with the monorail board's latest gimmicks which purported to only cost $7 billion:

Nickels said he was canceling the agreement that allows the monorail to build its system in the streets.

Monorail board members on Wednesday decided to let acting Director John Haley continue work on a new finance plan and seek cost cuts and possible federal funding on a schedule that could have extended into December.

Nickels' latest move rejects that strategy and steps up pressure on monorail board members to come up with a ballot measure. He asked board members to come up with such a measure by their meeting Wednesday, or "the city will do it for them." It was the latest in a series of back-and-forth maneuvers unfolding since the mayor made his demand for a plan on Aug. 10.

Wednesday night the monorail board "called his bluff," said monorail critic Geof Logan. Friday, "the mayor called them right back."

....City Councilman Richard Conlin, also a monorail critic, said the move from Nickels, a monorail supporter in the past, is "huge. That's a very significant big step for him."

Conlin said the finance plan is flawed in expecting Seattleites to buy more and bigger luxury cars to support mass transit, and that Nickels' decision probably means the project is dead.

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