Spokesman-Review Letters to the Editor

In Sunday’s paper there was an article by reporter Jonathan Brunt titled “City seeks Riverside extension.”

The piece itself was shocking, but one sentence really caught my eye. While describing the Riverside extension, the description included the language two lanes “with a median set aside for a future light rail system.”

What light rail system? Who approved it? Didn’t the voters reject light rail two years ago because of costs? Who’s paying for this median set aside?

Who is running this city? Does government just ignore the voters and answer to another dictate, and who would that be?

In a town that can’t afford enough police to keep us or our property safe, enough snowplows to be timely and effective, or enough funds to even catch up with all the road repairs needed, how can we afford to buy extra dirt for a future light rail system the majority of us don’t want?

With stone-age tax systems that desperately need revision and budget cuts more the norm than the exception, what powers in Spokane manage to ignore the voters and spend tax dollars on special-interest wants?

I want to know: Who did this and how?

David Bray

Mr. Bray- Voters did indeed vote down two advisory light rail propositions a couple years ago. The first asked whether STA should conduct a study on how to pay for the project. The second asked if STA should use its existing resources to pay for preliminary engineering and design for the light rail line.

Light rail isn’t completely dead though, as neither proposition asked if STA should work to secure land to build a lightrail on, which is what STA is doing. The STA Board has left open the possibility of a light rail system some day in the future by setting aside $5 million of the budget in 2007 for light rail right-of-way purchases.

There are other projects in the works that also reserve light rail right-of-way. Until it becomes a reality, that right-of-way is being used for pedestrian paths in most cases. In additon to the Riverside extension, those projects include the Appleway extension in Spokane Valley, and the North Spokane Corridor.

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