Recluse reflections: "Ready to go"? What does that mean?
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005  
"Ready to go"? What does that mean?

One of the phrases that seems to be a campaign talking point for monorail activists is that the system is "Ready to go."

SMP interim director used the phrase in this Seattle Times article yesterday:
The agency's new executive director, former Boston transit chief John Haley, calls the project "ready to go," with an environmental-impact statement completed and nearly all the station property purchased.
SMP Board member Cleve Stockmeyer, who is running for reelection, used it in a campaign appearance on Seattle Channel. (Video unavailable today because of technical difficulties.)

But what does the phrase "ready to go" mean in this context? Since SMP hasn't built anything, it's hardly "ready to go" in any traditional sense. They had a contract to design the system, but don't have a final design or construction plan.

In an indirect quote in an article in today's PI that details some of the uncertainties that would lie ahead if the monorail initiative passes, Haley elaborates a bit on the phrase. He "said the project had too much going for it to be abandoned: a route, a source of supportive tax revenue and a tentative design and construction contract."

So, "ready to go" when used by a monorail proponent seems to mean "ready to negotiate, design, negotiate again, and litigate and then maybe build a train system."

There would be a wealth of negotiations for years to come -- with the City, with the County for bus service fare issues, with their contractor, and with private interests who will be impacted.

If the monorail Prop. 1 were to pass, the agency would have to negotiate with the City for a new transitway agreement. Activists and SMP's disfunctional board would probably argue that passage of the measure should cause the City to give SMP whatever it wants. But it's unlikely that the City would agree since the ballot measure calls for negotiation and even gives SMP the authority to "further modify the Plan’s route if necessary to obtain City consent for construction permits following City review of SMP’s finance plan."

Some will no doubt argue that that clause in the ballot measure requires the City to review SMP's financing more agressively than what they've done in the past. It certainly seems to direct SMP to respond to City objections to their financing plan.

SMP has already spent a couple of hundred millions of dollars negotiating, planning, and litigating. A "Yes" vote on Monorail Prop. 1 will give the group permission to spend even more on the same kind of thing.

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