The following is the text of the testimony presented by Eastside Rail Now! at the Port of Seattle Commission meeting on December 11, 2007 regarding the Port's planned purchase of the Eastside railroad:
Today, the Port of Seattle has the opportunity to make an announcement of historic proportions.
Such an announcement could finally put an end to years of wasteful effort designed to destroy what is potentially one of the region's most valuable transportation assets.
A decision to bring the Eastside railroad into public ownership and keep it intact, would do what Proposition 1 could not do. It would start moving the region forward into the 21st century with effective and extremely affordable solutions for our mounting transportation and environmental problems.
There is absolutely nothing to be gained by hastily scrapping this rail line without first adequately and fully studying its potential. As the Port is well aware, this is a railroad that parallels what WSDOT rates as the most congested freeway in the entire state. It is a railroad that passes through or near most major destinations on the Eastside. And it is the only remaining alternative north-south rail line west of the Cascades. Once gone, it would be virtually impossible to bring it back, despite the supposed "guarantees" of the Rails-to-Trails-Act.
Also, using the railroad as the core of a commuter rail service is probably one of the most important things that can be done on the Eastside to fight global warming.
Yes, the railroad is not perfect. Hardly any railroad is, just as hardly any freeway, airport or harbor is perfect. But any problems can be corrected, and at an amazingly low cost.
It is our fervent hope that the Port will take full advantage of this outstanding opportunity to allow for the improvement of both passenger and freight mobility while simultaneously combating global warming and other environmental ills. This could finally herald an end to the series of costly blunders that has plagued transportation planning in this region for many decades.
Should the Port decide to save the railroad so that it can be used to its best advantage, this would indeed be a historic day -- and one truly worthy of celebration by almost all of us.
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This page created December 13, 2007.
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