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Final curtain for Seattle monorail project

The USD 1.7 billion monorail project was given its final coup de grace by the Seattle voters on 8 November, when 64% rejected the last chance referendum to keep it alive. The north-south monorail, the brainchild of local taxi driver Dick Falconbury, acquired official status in a previous ballot, when voters approved a supplementary vehicle registration tax to finance the scheme. However as tenders to build and equip the line were firmed up, it became clear that in order to raise the necessary finance and meet interest payments on the borrowings, USD 11 million would have to be raised from motorists, requiring the tax to be collected for about 50 years. This forced the city to require that the plans be resubmitted to the 2005 ballot, resulting in clear rejection. The monorail agency will now have to close down after selling acquired property to pay its USD 110 million debt.

11 November 2005

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