Urban Politics #129: Monorail EIS, Legisation & Timeline


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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CONTENTS:

  • Draft EIS Status
  • Public Hearing And Comment Period
  • Resolution On Use Of City Right-Of-Way
  • Monorail At The City Council
  • Timeline For City Consideration Of Monorail
  • Update On State Legislation

Draft EIS Status

On Friday, April 5, the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Seattle Popular Transit Plan. This plan for a monorail system from Ballard to West Seattle is the fruition of Initiative 53, passed by Seattle voters in November, 2000, and Initiative 41, passed by Seattle voters in 1997.

The Draft EIS and Draft Seattle Popular Transit Plan can be viewed at the ETC website at www.elevated.org; paper copies are available for review at all branches of the Seattle Public Library, and all Neighborhood Service Centers. Printed and CD-ROM copies are available from the ETC at cost; contact Felicia Freeman of the ETC at 206-382-1220. For additional details on the Draft Plan such as technical documents, check the ETC website at www.elevated.org or call the ETC at 206-382-1220.

Public Hearing And Comment Period

The ETC will hold a public hearing and open house on the Draft EIS on Tuesday, April 23 from 5-9 p.m., in the Northwest Rooms (Shaw and Fidalgo) of the Seattle Center, located just north of Key Arena.

There will be a 30-day public comment period on the Draft EIS. Written comments on the Draft EIS can be sent to the ETC at 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3600, Seattle, WA 98104, or by e-mail to estone@elevated.org

Resolution On Use Of City Right-Of-Way

The resolution on the use of City right-of-way mentioned in Urban Politics #127 (http://www.seattle.gov/council/licata/up_127.htm ) was scheduled for a vote at the Full Council on Monday, April 1. It has been re-referred back to the Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee for consideration on April 12, as amendments were proposed at the Full Council which the Council had little time to consider. There should be a committee vote on April 12, with a Full Council vote in the following weeks. The resolution is available on the City Clerk’s website at http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/RESN1.htm; type in “30448″ in the “Resolution No.” field.

Monorail At The City Council

The timeline for the monorail is very rapid. The Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee I chair at the City Council will consider a number of crucial issues in the coming months. Key issues soon to come before the Council are:

1) Resolution 30448 on use of City right-of-way, as mentioned above

2) Recommendation on a preferred monorail route: The City Council will make a recommendation for a preferred route option, tentatively scheduled for the May 10 Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting, and the Full Council May 20, two weeks prior to the ETC route selection. Briefings on the Draft EIS and route options will take place in the April 12 Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee and the April 30 Transportation Committee. If you wish to comment to the Council, you may comment at the April 12 meeting, or e-mail nick.licata@seattle.gov or by postal mail at Councilmember Nick Licata, 600 4th Avenue, 1100 Municipal Building, Seattle,
WA 98104.

3) Design Guidelines: The ETC has requested a Council resolution endorsing proposed design guidelines; a briefing in scheduled April 12, with a resolution vote possible at either the May 10 or June 7 meetings of the Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee.

Timeline For City Consideration Of Monorail

As noted above, the timeline for the monorail is fast. Here’s a chronological summary of what will be coming up. Because things are moving so fast, the timeline often changes, so contact my office for updates in the future if you’re interested.

Council consideration of the monorail: timeline/key decision points (subject to change):
April 5, ETC releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Draft Seattle Popular Transit Plan

April 12, Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting:

- Briefing on Draft EIS, including route options; opportunity for public comment on route options
- Briefing on Design Guidelines by the ETC, and the recommendations of the Design & Planning Commissions
- Vote on Resolution 30448 on use of City right-of-way

April 23, ETC open house and public hearing on Draft EIS at Seattle Center (Northwest Rooms, Shaw and Fidalgo) 5-9 p.m.

April 30, Transportation Committee meeting

- Update on route options and impacts
- West Seattle Bridge briefing and possible direction from committee

May 6, Comment period for Draft EIS ends

May 10, Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting

- Vote on resolution on recommendation for preferred route (Full Council targeted for Monday, May 20)
- Possible vote on resolution on Design Guidelines (or June 7)
- Update on cost estimates: utility relocation, permitting, safety plans
- Briefing /discussion on governance (tentative)
- Briefing /discussion on finance (tentative)

June 3, ETC announces Preferred Alternative and Seattle Popular Transit Plan (including Finance Plan)

June 7, Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting

- Briefing on Final EIS

July 19, Final EIS released

July 26, Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting

- Briefing on ETC/City understanding

August 5, ETC adopts Final Plan for Referral to City Council (including route and station locations, financing plan and governance)

September, Monorail Ad-Hoc Committee meeting: resolution on ETC/City understanding

Council ordinance to refer plan to ballot

Update On State Legislation

Governor Locke has signed the bill passed by the state legislature, Engrossed Senate Substitute (ESSB) Bill 6464, which allows Seattle voters to create a new transportation authority to build and operate a monorail. The two problematic sections mentioned in UP #127 were vetoed by the Governor. These sections implied a need for a second vote, and linked the monorail vote to passage of a regional transportation act by the end of 2002. I co-signed a letter requesting a veto of these sections.

With the Governor’s signature, and the veto of these two sections, the ETC’s efforts at the state legislature have been a clear success. Kudos to State Senators Ken Jacobsen and Jeanne Kohl-Welles for sponsoring ESSB 6464, and to State Representative Ed Murray for spearheading the monorail effort at the state legislature.

Keep in touch…

Comments

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