Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« That SCOTUS Lady Who Retired..... | Like I Said.... »

Monday, July 4, 2005

Monorail Resignation Letters

Posted by on July 4 at 14:33 PM

Monorail Board Chair Tom Weeks and Monorail Director Joel Horn resigned their respective positions today.

The resignation letters are linked below.

For Immediate Release
Date: July 4, 2005
CONTACT: Natasha Jones,
(206) 654-1424 or

Monorail Board Chair and Executive Director Step Down

(Seattle, WA, July 4, 2005) — In a letter sent today to the Seattle Monorail Project Board of Directors, Board Chair Tom Weeks and Executive Director Joel Horn stepped down from their leadership posts, accepting full responsibility for the current situation.

Their letter to the Board and Horn's e-mail to the Monorail staff are below.

Letter to the Board

TO: Seattle Monorail Project Board of Directors

FROM: Tom Weeks and Joel Horn

DATE: July 4, 2005

Effective immediately, we are stepping down from our positions as Chairman of the Board and Executive Director with the Seattle Monorail Project.

Two weeks ago today, Seattle Monorail Project staff delivered to the Board a fixed-price contract to build the 14-mile Green Line along the voter-approved route from Ballard through Downtown to West Seattle. The proposed agreement to design, build, operate and maintain the Monorail is within voter-approved funding limits.

The agreement, however, was overshadowed by the interest costs of the finance plan. Though we tried to explain the complex, long-term financing proposal, and called for apples-to-apples comparisons with other major regional transportation projects, the Board and the people of Seattle have made it clear that the proposed financing plan will not work and that a better plan must be developed.

We take full responsibility for the current situation and feel that it is in the best interest of the Project to step down.

The fixed-price agreement the Seattle Monorail Project negotiated with Cascadia Monorail Company LLC is a good value for the city. Given the complexity of negotiations and ever-increasing prices, we do not believe that it is possible to negotiate a better deal with a qualified contractor. We have a fixed-price contract and an approved revenue source to build it. A Monorail for the City of Seattle is within reach.

The core issue remains: Do we want to be a city that is forever dependent on cars and roads? As Seattle grows and gridlock worsens, we need a fundamental change in our thinking to move beyond our dependence on oil. Any new mass transit system will likely cost more than the Monorail. We sincerely hope that others will not attempt to redirect the motor vehicle excise tax toward building more roads for more cars, resulting in more pollution.  Seattle needs more transit options, more mobility and a more sustainable infrastructure. The Monorail meets those goals.

The Monorail began as a grass-roots effort to provide Seattle with an environmentally sustainable mass transit system that would get people out of their cars. The public embraced the Monorail. The citizens of Seattle voted four times to support it. People still want the Monorail, but they want a better financing plan to pay for it.

We want what's best for Seattle and we firmly believe that we owe it to our children, our grandchildren and the environment to build the Monorail — the right Monorail with the right financing plan. There is a path forward, and we're confident that the dedicated and hardworking Seattle Monorail Project Board and staff can meet this challenge.

The Monorail is too important to the city to let it be derailed now. The Monorail is a mass transit system that is fast, safe and good for the environment and for the economic vitality of our city.

It has been an honor and a distinct privilege to work with the Board, the staff, the volunteers, and the thousands of citizens who have participated over the last several years.

Joel Horn's E-mail to Staff

July 4, 2005

Subject: A Change at the Monorail


Earlier today, Board Chair Tom Weeks and I informed the Board that we are stepping down from our positions effective immediately. Because we believe strongly in the Monorail and the future of Seattle mass transit, we find it necessary to step down in order to allow the Monorail to move forward.

On Friday, when I left the SMP office, I wasn't planning to resign. But after talking with my wife and family and reflecting on the magnitude of the issues we face today, I knew stepping down was the right thing to do. I sincerely believe it is in the best interest of the Project.

Throughout the last three years you've done an extraordinary job, responding to intense pressure and critical issues professionally and enthusiastically. I'm proud to have worked with all of you. As your Executive Director, I take full responsibility for both the good and the bad. Right now my continued presence as Executive Director is proving to be a distraction from the real issue at hand — the importance of building mass transit in our city.

My commitment to building a Monorail for Seattle and its future generations hasn't changed. It is much more important to me than my personal role with the Project.

Remember why we all got involved with the Monorail in the first place. We share a vision of Seattle moving away from car-jammed streets, away from oil dependence, away from polluted skies and toward an environmentally friendly mass transit system. The Monorail is a major step in the right direction.

I want to leave you with a message that you've heard me say time and time again: Stay focused! Know that I'll be rooting for you. I've never worked with a team this good, and I urge you all to stick with the Project. Seattle needs a Monorail — and the Monorail needs you now more than ever. Don't let others distract you from the important tasks ahead. The people of Seattle are counting on you to make the Monorail they've voted for a reality.

See you on Opening Day.

All my best,