This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Ron Sims is determined not to let that right-of-way slip through our fingers. From a King County press release:
Sims, along with the environmentalists and transportation advocates, signed a statement of Principles of Dual Use for the corridor. The principles include the promise to work with local, state and federal agencies for money to build a rail line on the 40 mile corridor being sold by the railroad. Trail advocates from the start have advocated the dual use of this critical public asset and the statement of principles signed today emphasize their absolute commitment to this goal.
“All of my documents and all of my staff presentations are about dual use. But let there be no doubt to anyone about our intention to include a rail line if we are able to secure public ownership of this corridor,” said Executive Sims. “If the money were available, we’d build modern commuter or high capacity transit rail immediately.”
Some transit advocates feared that once it became a trail, no one would tolerate building rail on it. But the rail advocates don’t have the money or the ridership numbers to justify a train. The PSRC study recommended trail now, rail later. But Sims wants to reassure us that rail is still a priority.
Although the Port Commissioner is explicitly mentioned, there’s no talk of the infamous trail-for-airport swap that the kids were crazy about back in the day.
Update: The P-I’s spin: Sims is trying to buy time until he can come up with the dough.