I know I am super late on this, but this part made me cry so I had this in “saved draft” stage until five minutes ago:
He goes back to the 1968 transit vote that was part of another Ellis legacy, Forward Thrust, and one of his bitterest losses.
“We were ahead in the polls, right up to the last three weeks,” he said. “Then, some very clever ads came out, and one day General Motors showed up with a large trailer-truck. It had a huge window and inside was a chrome-plated jet engine, and the sign said something like, ‘This is the engine of the future. It will make buses faster than trains!’
“No one would ever put a jet engine in a bus, but people didn’t know that and we slowly lost the vote for transit. That was in 1968. If the people had voted for it — eventually it would have been 80 percent paid by the federal government — the system would have been finished in 1985, at three times the size of the one before voters this November. And the last payment for it would have been in 2008.”
Ellis believes this year’s transit-and-roads package should pass. He has seen it all: the bickering, the fighting, the turf, the mental gymnastics of a region emerging from a small town to a roaring city.
“The city has to come around to this,” he said. “Seattle is now the best it has ever been; just look at the vitality of downtown. But if Seattle pauses, it will decline and another city will come along to take its place.”
And later: “Seattle is so ideally positioned for the future,” he said. “The waterfront should be a wonderful attraction. Great cities do not have their streets destroyed by vehicles. I know that the local Sierra Club is against the November vote. I’m ashamed of them, and it will come back to haunt them.”