This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
That seems to be the gist of the new deal between King County and the Port of Seattle on the Eastside rail corridor. The Port is going to buy the corridor from BNSF, same as before, but now King County doesn’t have to trade its Airport. Instead, King County promises to “consult” with the Port before “any major developments” (read: building a passenger terminal for Southwest or Alaska Air).
So the Port basically laid out $103M just to hedge against the possibility that King County might someday want to put a second Airport in your backyard. It’s sort of like buying Marvin Gardens because the other guy already has Atlantic and Ventnor Aves. and you’re worried he’s gonna build hotels.
It looks like, by holding out, King County got a better deal than it would have under the original Ron Sims-Mic Dinsmore swap, which called for the County to give up the Airport. Kudos to the King County council for making it happen. Now we get a trail with even more strict assurances that it will be usable for high-capacity transit in the future.