One way to make a wonkish story lively is to get Vince Koskela's take. The head of Taxpayers On Strike, who tends to talk in CAPITAL>"/>
One way to make a wonkish story lively is to get Vince Koskela's take. The head of Taxpayers On Strike, who tends to talk in CAPITAL LETTERS! recently e-mailed the state Department of Transportation about its upcoming Wednesday hearing on Intermodal Access - "improving safety and mobility for people, cars, and trucks traveling from I-90 and I-5 to the waterfront," yada yada. Stand back, here's Vince:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As you may or may not know, SR 519 is a project created by the Public Facilities District (PFD) solely for the purpose of providing direct access from I-90, I-5 and Route 99 to the parking garages of Safeco Field and Qwest Field. Building two road ramps (Phase 1 and Phase 2) for ingress and egress to the two sports stadium parking garages was an orchestrated incentive to lure $150,000-per year luxury box buyers! The buyers were pitched the benefit of going to and leaving games and even parking year round, with easy access to freeways, without crossing railroad tracks or getting caught in traffic jams...
House Bill 2192 Section 218 Part (1) caps the public dollar share at $300 million, specifically restricted to the construction of Qwest Field and the Exhibition Center and Part (2) specifically states: "The state will not make any additional contributions based on revised cost or revenue estimates, cost overruns, unforeseen circumstances, OR ANY OTHER REASON!"
At a PFD meeting, in 1997 or 1998, the Executive Director of the Public Facilities District announced a plan to circumvent the HB 2115 - Section 106 prohibition on any further public funding for the ballpark. He suggested bringing the Port of Seattle into the road ramps construction project for both parking garages, so they could call it a "freight mobility" project. That would deceive WSDOT from believing it was strictly for the sports stadiums...
Senators Mike Heavy and Bill Finkbeiner placed an op-ed piece in the newspaper describing interviews they had done with truckers which indicated SR 519 was not necessary. [But it was built anyway]. The Phase 1 road ramp for Safeco was originally estimated to cost $89 million; the same for Phase 2 at Qwest Field. Phase 1 ended up costing $158 Million....Phase 2 will be closer to $200 Million. A hole will be punched into the second level of the Qwest parking garage and a ramp from SR 519 will run into it.
There comes a time when one has to say "enough is enough" already. That time is NOW! Public Money for Safeco Field totals $650 Million (with interest) and is still climbing (Mariner add-ons). Public Money for Qwest totals $577 Million (including interest). Public Money for SR 519 will total over $355 Million. That's a grand total of $1.6 BILLION! Don't you think we have spent enough public money on two Wealthy Private Party Special Interest Professional Sports Franchises?
SCRAP and CANCEL Phase 2 of the illegal SR 519 Intermodal Access Project! SHAME ON THE WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR BEING A PARTY TO THIS SR 519 FRAUD!
Sincerely, Vincent Koskela