Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fort Worth Voters Did Not Approve A $134 Million Streetcar Transit Ballot Initiative

I did not realize, til this morning, whilst reading the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in an article titled How the streetcar construction is already changing First Hill, that Seattle has a new streetcar line under construction.

In the following blurb from the P-I article there is a line the likes of which I've never seen in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Voters approved the streetcar as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot initiative in 2008. When the $134 million project is finished in 2014, the streetcar line will have 10 stops linking Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, the Central Area, the International District and Pioneer Square. It also will connect First Hill and hospitals such as Harborview, Swedish and Virginia Mason with Sound Transit's Link light rail.

Can you spot the line to which I refer, the likes of which I've never seen in the Star-Telegram?

If you spotted "Voters approved the streetcar as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot initiative in 2008," then you spotted correctly.

If I remember right Fort Worth somehow snagged something like 25 million federal dollars to build a very short streetcar line to nowhere. A streetcar was brought, by the Trinity River Vision, to downtown Fort Worth, to show the locals what a modern streetcar looks like. If I remember right that streetcar exhibit came from Portland, Oregon.

Fort Worth did not go ahead with building that streetcar to nowhere.

Voters in Fort Worth are rarely allowed to vote on any of the public works boondoggles that plague this part of the planet.

Such as the billion dollar Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. Never voted on by Fort Worth voters. The TRVB is a recipient of federal earmark money, courtesy of Fort Worth's corrupt congresswoman, Kay Granger, whose unqualified son, J.D., was installed to run the TRV Boondoggle, to please Kay and keep those federal dollars flowing.

Fort Worth has a population of some 758,736 people, living in a town covering 298.9 square miles.

Seattle has a population of some 620,778 people, living in a town covering only 142.5 square miles.

With Fort Worth being a bigger town than Seattle, in more ways that one, don't you think it is high time Fort Worth puts on its big city pants and starts acting like a grown up town, putting public works proposals to a public vote instead of letting a good ol' boy (and girl) network run this town?

Trust me, you get much better results when the public is on board with a public works project. Just check out some of the public works projects completed or under construction, in Seattle, to get an idea of how that works.

Pike Place Market, re-built courtesy of a public works project called Forward Thrust. Woodland Park Zoo, rebuilt courtesy of Forward Thrust. The Kingdome (now dead) built courtesy of Forward Thrust. Lake Washington clean, courtesy of Forward Thrust. I am forgetting some of the thrust of Forward Thrust.

Seattle Link light rail, it being a public works project, the result of a public vote.

Seahawk Stadium and the Mariner's Safeco Field, the result of public votes.

While Fort Worth can not figure out how to replace its ancient Will Rogers Coliseum.

Seattle built a coliseum in the early 1960s, as part of another massive public works project called the Seattle World's Fair. The Seattle Coliseum was built decades after Fort Worth's ancient Will Rogers Coliseum and is now considered not up to par for NBA basketball, which is part of the reason Chesapeake Energy's Aubrey McClendon was able to steal the Sonics and move them to Oklahoma City.

Seattle is currently working on replacing the Seattle Coliseum, known now as Key Arena, with a new basketball arena. I suspect Seattle will have a new NBA team in its new basketball arena well before Fort Worth manages to replace Will Rogers Coliseum. And if Fort Worth does ever manage to replace Will Rogers Coliseum it is highly unlikely the public will be allowed to vote on the project.

Because that is just not the Fort Worth Way.

The image at the top is from the Seattle Streetcar website.


Steve A said...

As I recall, the voters voted "no" on Safeco Field, after which the politicians built it anyway. How is that better than the Fort Worth approach? Now, I hear they want to build yet another arena in downtown Seattle for a hockey team. After Safeco, will they dare to allow a vote?

Steve A said...

As I also recall, they expanded the Colisseum without a vote before the Sonics fled...

Durango said...

Steve A---the way I remember it, it was after the public vote said no the Mariners suddenly turned very popular throughout the northwest. I recollect whilst those postseason games were aired you could not go anywhere without hearing them.

The Wikipedia blurb...

In September 1995, King County voters defeated a ballot measure to secure public funding for a new baseball stadium. Shortly thereafter, the Mariners' first appearance in the MLB postseason and their victory in the 1995 American League Division Series (ALDS) renewed a public desire to keep the team in town. As a result, the Washington State Legislature approved an alternate means of funding for the stadium with public money.

As for the Seattle Coliseum, when it was decided to upgrade it various entities chipped in to pay for it. Key Bank paid $15 million for naming rights. The Sonics paid $21 million.

That really does not sound like the Fort Worth Way to me. Who'd pay anything for naming rights to anything in Fort Worth?

Anonymous said...

I think the point here was that in Seattle voters were allowed to vote on a public works project, like the baseball park. In Fort Worth big public works project can come about without the public voting yes or no.