New Seattle monorail on ballot this November

by: Chris Legeros Updated:


SEATTLE - Seattle's first monorail from Seattle Center to Westlake is more than 50 years old.

The campaign to build a second between West Seattle and Ballard failed in 2005, when costs soared, and revenues from car license tab fees were far less than projected.

 “It was too highly politicized the last time, I think,” Elizabeth Campbell said.

Now Campbell is spearheading a new effort to build a monorail between West Seattle and Ballard.  Her campaign gathered more than 9,000 signatures. 

That was enough to get a proposition on the November ballot.  It would create the Century Transportation Authority to plan, construct, operate, and maintain a monorail. 

A $5 license tab fee would be imposed on Seattle drivers to get started.  Campbell said the CTA could do the planning and the environmental review, and then put the project on the ballot to ask voters to proceed with it. 

Campbell estimates it will cost up to $2 billion dollars to build a monorail. 

Just where would that money come from?  Metro will soon cut bus service, because voters recently refused to cough up more cash for the system. 

“If we can’t financially support and organize the bus system, how are we going to be able to organize the monorail system?” Seattle resident McKenzie Rush said.

Campbell admits she doesn't have set answers yet, and that funding is a work in progress. She hopes more private money could be used this time around from developers who would want to build around the Monorail corridor.

“I think we have to be a little more flexible and not just go, oh, we’re going to stick it to the car drivers,” she said.

If Seattle voters say “yes” in November, and if, down the road, they approved funding a new monorail, Campbell is confident that the system could be up and running by 2020.