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Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Latest Monorail News

Posted by on September 8 at 8:55 AM

So, Kevin Phelpsthe former Sound Transit board finance chair who helped turn that agency’s finances aroundannounced his preliminary findings on the monorail finances yesterday. (Phelps was hired by SMP to help save the beleaguered project.) The dailies have the story today. (Basically, Phelps says the monorail can bring its overall finance plan down to $7 billion instead of the infamous $11 billion and pay it off in 39 years instead of the dreaded 50.)

Phelps’s plan is basically a response to Mayor Nickels’s demand that the SMP come up with a new plan (a tax increase or a shorter line) by Sept. 15 to take to the voters. The SMP doesn’t want to go back to the voters, and so Phelps is doing a bit of a dance with Nickelscoming back with numbers that conceivably say the monorail could move ahead along the guidelines of the 2002 vote. What’s kinda funny about this scenarioPhelps dancing for Nickelsis that Phelps actually replaced Nickels as finance chair on Sound Transit’s board after Nickels oversite proved disastrous with a $1.1 billion cost overrun. And now, you’ve got Phelps having to take direction from Nickels. It’s a cruel world.