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Initiative 83, Monorail
Thursday, October 14, 2004 - Page updated at 2:54 p.m.
What is it? Initiative 83 would ban or revoke city permits required to build a new monorail in Seattle.
What would it do? The measure seeks to stop the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) from constructing the $1.75 billion Green Line connecting Ballard, Seattle Center, downtown and West Seattle, which voters approved in 2002. The Seattle Monorail Project is challenging I-83 in state courts. The measure does not repeal the existing car-tab tax for the project. If the initiative leads to the monorailís political collapse, the taxes would still need to be collected for several months to pay off existing debt.
Who supports it? The campaign, known as Monorail Recall, began as a coalition between tax protesters and citizens who believe the concrete tracks would cause blight. Major backers include developer and Magnolia resident Martin Selig, Washington Mutual Bank, Westlake Center, Equity Office Properties, former Mayor Charles Royer, structural engineer Jon Magnusson, and Finne Architects. The campaign recently changed its focus, arguing that monorail funds would be better spent extending Sound Transit light rail from Westlake Center to Northgate. However, I-83 does not shift funds to light rail, something that would probably require a future regional transportation vote.
Who opposes it? King County Democrats, the Transportation Choices Coalition, the Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sonics and Storm, former Gov. Dan Evans, and Starbucks Center developers Nitze-Stagen oppose I-83. Monorail campaigners say the agency is keeping its promise to build the whole 14-mile line, the route will prevent gridlock during future rebuilding of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and that both light rail and monorail lines are needed to reach the whole city.
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