Seattle Monorail Project Board Chair Tom Weeks, and Executive Director Joel Horn, have resigned:
TO: Seattle Monorail Project Board of Directors
FROM: Tom Weeks and Joel Horn
DATE: July 4, 2005
Effective immediately, we are stepping down from our positions as Chairman of the Board and Executive Director with the Seattle Monorail Project.
Two weeks ago today, Seattle Monorail Project staff delivered to the Board a fixed-price contract to build the 14-mile Green Line along the voter-approved route from Ballard through Downtown to West Seattle. The proposed agreement to design, build, operate and maintain the Monorail is within voter-approved funding limits.
The agreement, however, was overshadowed by the interest costs of the finance plan. Though we tried to explain the complex, long-term financing proposal, and called for apples-to-apples comparisons with other major regional transportation projects, the Board and the people of Seattle have made it clear that the proposed financing plan will not work and that a better plan must be developed.
We take full responsibility for the current situation and feel that it is in the best interest of the Project to step down.
I’m a pretty cynical guy, and part of my role as a political blogger is to be pretty damn cynical. But I have to say I’ve been somewhat disturbed by the way some journalists, pundits, talk-radio hosts and other bloggers have cynically personalized their attacks on the Monorail by attacking the SMP staff and board.
There was no scandal, no corruption, and no grand deception. By all accounts the SMP staff and board are stand-up citizens, who have worked hard to achieve an ambitious vision. Yes, they have failed… but there is no shame in that.
From the beginning Joel Horn said that if they could not deliver on the promises made to voters, then they would not build the Monorail. Saddled with a revenue source that fell way short of projections, it has proven impossible to propose an acceptable financing plan to build the promised system. The SMP and their allies on the Seattle City Council could have arrogantly pressed on with constructing the Monorail despite public opposition to a half-century or more of car tabs. That they have responded to public criticism by pausing the project, and potentially killing it, should be an opportunity not to personally attack SMP board members and staff, but rather to celebrate a process that works.
By stepping down, Horn not only proves himself a man of word, but he also demonstrates his continued dedication to the vision.
The Monorail began as a grass-roots effort to provide Seattle with an environmentally sustainable mass transit system that would get people out of their cars. The public embraced the Monorail. The citizens of Seattle voted four times to support it. People still want the Monorail, but they want a better financing plan to pay for it.
We want what’s best for Seattle and we firmly believe that we owe it to our children, our grandchildren and the environment to build the Monorail