Monday, April 27, 2009

Waterfront Funding?

This morning, the Washington State Legislature adjourned having completed its scheduled 105 day legislative session.

What happened with waterfront funding? It's not in this year's state budget.

However, the 2009-11 conference committee transportation document included a recommendation to modify the Burlington Northern railroad track on the Georgia Pacific site.

Initially, (2004) the project was proposed because trains must slow down at a sharp curve on the existing line at the Georgia Pacific plant.

The initial proposed project scope states the project will make minor modifications to the track in order to allow for a faster passenger train speed.

The preliminary engineering phase began on 7/1/2004. The end date was 6/30/2005.

The current project scope reads: the mainline of BNSF Railway track currently runs through a sharp curve at a Georgia Pacific plant. This project will relocate a 3/4 mile section of the track. This will allow the site to be redeveloped for recreational, residential and commercial uses.

It appears that this is a classic example of political spin.

To start, the project is proposed to increase the speed of trains through Bellingham. Then, the City and Port want to locate 3,000 people on the Waterfront and all of a sudden, the rail modification will enhance property values and allow recreational, residential and commercial development.

The end result is the same. We have trains moving faster through Bellingham population zones.

I'm not sure how this project increases our quality of life...but I bet Burlington Northern is supporting it!

Prior expenditures

Before 2007 ---$47 thousand

2007-2009 --- $448 thousand

2009 -2011--- $0

2011- 2013 ---$0

2013 -2015 ---$5 million

Total $5,495 million

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