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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

State Rep. Ed Murray: Off the Light Rail Train?

Posted by on July 27 at 10:42 AM

In this week’s paper we have a small article on what’s quickly turning into a big debate. The Seattle Times has a bigger story on it today as well. At question: Should Sound Transit scrap the light rail station that’s slated to serve First Hill? Going ahead with the station could, for a set of complicated reasons that have to do with federal funding, add up to $1 billion in costs, according to City Council Member Nick Licata. Licata voted against the station in a recent 7-1 council resolution aimed at influencing the ST board. (The resolution recommended building the station, and Licata was the lone vote against it.) The ST board is scheduled to vote on the stationwhich would be located between a Westlake station and a Capitol Hill stationtomorrow.
As we went to press yesterday, I got an urgent call from state Rep. Ed Murraythe House Transportation Chair, and a big ST fan. Despite the financial drawbacks of building the First Hill station, he told me he’s “off the Sound Transit train” if ST doesn’t build it. In a July 15 letter to the ST board Murray made his case:

“Choosing to bypass one of the region’s important employment centers, densely populated residential neighborhoods and a rich source of transit ridership would undermine the primary purpose of a high capacity transit system: connecting our region’s urban centers. Such a decision raises serious questions about how we find ourselves potentially building a high capacity system that would skip a major regional destination and one of the few truly dense urban residential populations in the region. The very type of areas high capacity transit was designed to serve.”