In Wednesday’s news, Port Commissioner Rob Holland has come out in favor of putting much of the Port of Seattle’s $300 million contribution to the viaduct replacement project into a streetcar project, instead of into road construction.
Considering that the so-called “tunnel plus transit” option the state selected doesn’t have any funding for transit – his proposal could actually be within the project plan. I called him yesterday afternoon for details, and the conversation took a different angle.
It turns out that two things happened. First, Holland read the Nelson/Nygaard report which points out surface traffic – meaning most of the freight at the Port – would be just as bad with a tunnel as without. Second, he’s been riding the Seattle Streetcar, and as he says, watching it fill up. He went on to point out that a transit user represents a car off the road, and the streetcar shows him that people are clearly willing to take transit.
The result? He’s open to the $700 million cheaper surface/transit/I-5 option, saying that with some creativity in freight management, it could work. He detailed a few options, such as running trucks at night, and using staging areas, that could mitigate the impact of the lack of bypass.
He said that while he’s on record supporting the tunnel, he’s “an environmentalist at heart,” and in light of the changes we need to make in the next decades, he said he wants to support building more transit – and we shouldn’t be building more roads.