Voters turned down a proposal Nov. 8 by the Seattle Monorail Project to shorten the originally planned $2.1-billion, 14-mile line to a 10-mile-long route. As the election returns came in Nov. 8, only 36% of the ballots supported the cheaper, shorter monorail proposal; 64% voted against the transit system. The early numbers represent 99% of the precincts. Some ballots will continue arriving by mail but it's unclear if it will be enough to reverse the monorail's fate.
SMP members voted Nov. 9 to dissolve the agency. It will begin terminating contracts, including the one with the 28-firm Cascadia Monorail Co., led by Fluor Corp. The agency will take measures to liquidate assets and pay off its debts. Drivers must continue paying the car registration tax, which provided revenue for the agency, for the next two years to pay off SMP's $110 million debt.
The monorail's fifth public vote, which took place Tuesday, was the culmination of a public outcry by some state and local politicians and residents over SMP's proposed finance plan. In June, SMP proposed a plan for the $2.1 billion project that called for collecting car registrations taxes for at least 50 years to pay off the bonds. The total project cost, including interest payments, was estimated to top $11 billion.
The shortened line, which included 12 stations running 13 trains with 6-minute peak headways, would have cost $1.7 billion in construction, real estate and oversight costs. This version would have been paid off in less than 40 years with a debt service of less than $6 billion.