There are probably solid practical reasons to favor a “regional approach,” and I’m inclined to view his campaign with an open mind, but Mayoral candidate Ed Murray’ s statement to PubliCola doesn’t make any sense to me:
Here’s Murray on Mayor McGinn’s push to build light rail from Ballard to West Seattle.
We can’t afford [light rail from Ballard to West Seattle] by ourselves. There are probably things we could do as a city … that would feed in and make the light rail system work.The city is all gridlocked. More light rail is great, but that’s got to be built on the regional level.
As Sen. Murray is no doubt well aware, Sound Transit’s subarea equity mean that in any financing plan — “regional” or otherwise — funds for any Ballard-to-West Seattle segment come from Seattle, Shoreline, and Lake Forest Park. The contribution of the two suburbs matters (on the order of 10% of the total) but the money all comes from the same place, save for any federal contribution. I doubt that Sen. Murray is making a fine-grained judgment that Shoreline and Lake Forest Park cause the subarea to cross the threshold into affordability.
Seattle may not have adequate current revenue authorization to open the whole line, but then neither does Sound Transit in the first half of this century. The right answer, in my view, is whatever it takes; with the region if they’re willing to come along, as they have been in the past, or seeking its own plans if not.
The Murray campaign did not reply to my request for clarification.