This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Curious statement from Councilman Tom Rasmussen:
“I think we should eventually have something like [light rail to Ballard and West Seattle], but it seems premature to me, when we haven’t even built light rail to the University District, to start building it to West Seattle and Crown Hill.”
Surely the councilman knows that designing and planning a rail line takes years. The chances that we’ll “start building” light rail before University Link (currently under construction!) opens in 2016 are approximately nil. It makes perfect sense to start planning a line to Ballard and/or West Seattle, which will require years of study, financing planning, and at least one public vote (the Monorail had what… five public votes?).
Rasmussen’s other objection is that “typically, light rail is something that occurs regionally rather than city by city.” Of course, as Catowner has pointed out on this blog, Ballard-West Seattle is relatively low on Sound Transit’s priority list. Why? Sound Transit is a regional agency, with a mandate to connect regional employment centers. If it so happens to connect one Seattel neighborhood to another, well, that’s kismet. If we’re going to ever have rail transit that works to connect neighborhoods inside the city of Seattle, it’s going to have to be a city — or at best, county (i.e. Metro) — project.*
*That is, unless and until we merge ST with Metro, Pierce Transit, and Community Transit.