Posts Tagged ‘East Side Rail Line’

From the Seattle Times – $26 million sought to buy land for portion of Eastside rail corridor

November 21, 2009

This transit story from the Seattle Times illustrates the land value for a soon to be abandoned rail lines, which with the current railway land deal, amounts to slightly over $1 million a mile or about $0.6 million/km. A local example would be the Arbutus Corridor, which using the same formula as used in Seattle, would cost about $6 million to buy.

Where Seattle’s government organizations are showing foresight in buying and protecting redundant and/or abandoned railway lines for future use, METRO Vancouver buries it’s collective heads in the sand, ignoring what must be done and continue to support hugely expensive metro projects that have done little to reduce auto congestion or pollution, while at the same time, proposing ever higher taxes and user fees to fund the nonsense.

Future generations will condemn the present METRO Vancouver Board for their short sightedness and incompetence.

$26 million sought to buy land for portion of East side rail corridor

King County Executive Kurt Triplett proposed today that the county spend up to $26 million to buy most of the southern part of BNSF Railway’s 42-mile Eastside rail corridor for future use.

By Keith Ervin – Seattle Times staff reporter

King County Executive Kurt Triplett proposed today that the county spend up to $26 million to buy most of the southern part of BNSF Railway’s 42-mile Eastside rail corridor.

If approved by the Metropolitan King County Council, the purchase would help preserve for future rail and trail use the old rail line that connects Renton, Bellevue, Kirkland, Woodinville, Redmond and Snohomish.

Under deals that are still begin negotiated, the Port of Seattle would buy the entire rail line from BNSF by Dec. 15 for $107 million or less, then would sell much of the southern part to King County and other partners.

The county would own most of the 25 miles of the southern portion, but Sound Transit and Redmond are negotiating to buy smaller stretches from the Port of Seattle.

Sound Transit could acquire a portion of the corridor in Bellevue for its planned Seattle-to-Bellevue-to-Redmond light rail line. Redmond could buy part of the Woodinville-to-Redmond spur, and Puget Sound Energy and the Cascade Water Alliance are expected to buy utility rights of way.

King County would finance its part of the deal by selling bonds to be repaid with future revenues from the conservation futures property tax. That tax can only be used for acquisition of trails and open space — and legally can’t be used to rescue the county’s troubled general fund — Triplett said.

Terry Lavender, chair of the conservation futures advisory committee, endorsed the funding plan, saying, “Bonding against this fund should be for extraordinary circumstances and I believe this project rises to that level.”

In his final news conference as county executive, Triplett said he was “thrilled” to be part of a purchase of land “that’s going to belong to King County forever and for future generations.” After years of negotiations, he said, public agencies are “finally on the precipice of acquiring this corridor.”

He was joined in the news conference by County Council members Dow Constantine, Jane Hague, Julia Patterson and Larry Phillips, Lavender and Cascade Bicycle Club Executive Director Chuck Ayres.

“Woohoo! I’m so excited,” Hague exclaimed.

The Port will buy and hold the rail line between Woodinville and Snohomish, allowing a contractor to take over BNSF’s freight-hauling business. A trail could eventually be put alongside the track.

From Woodinville to the south, where BNSF has abandoned the rail line, the future owners expect to eventually build a trail and passenger rail service.