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Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - Page updated at 01:17 PM

Seattle Monorail Project to sell property, director says

Seattle Times staff reporter

In the wake of last night's battering at the polls, the Seattle Monorail Project should quickly sell off its unused station properties and close shop by New Year's Eve, interim Director John Haley said this morning.

"Transit's been killed. It's an execution. But I respect the will of the voters, and they were crystal clear they want this project killed," he said.

The latest counts, just after 12 a.m. today, showed only 36 percent voting "yes" on pro-monorail Proposition 1, to save the agency and authorize a scaled-back, 10-mile line from West Seattle to Interbay.

The agency will soon shrink itself into a land-liquidation enterprise.

Monorail Project Chairwoman Kristina Hill mentioned a possible auction, while Haley dismissed a suggestion by board member Cleve Stockmeyer to hang onto some $62 million worth of land in case the city proposes a post-SMP transit system for the city's western flank. Land will be discussed at a board meeting tonight.

Hill blamed elected politicians and the news media for the downfall of the monorail, which began as a grass-roots movement and prevailed in four previous campaigns, including a 2002 measure to build a 14 mile line.

The agency suffered from rising costs, compounded by chronic shortages in its income from a new car-tab tax.

Haley said he still believes the monorail is the best technology to serve the route's narrow, hilly corridors, and its loss will harm the city for many years.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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