Mayor Pike told council that council needed to act "now" if it wanted to preserve state and federal funding for the project.
The state budget reveals that there is no funding, nor was there any funding in the budget for the Mayor's Waterfront Project. (Moving the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks).
Additional research reveals that the Mayor's project was initially introduced in the 2004 budget.
The purpose of "moving the rails" project, as described by DOT, is to relocate the tracks closer to town so that trains can move faster through Bellingham.
In other words, this project is about increasing train speed, not increasing opportunities for Waterfront Redevelopment. Moving the tracks benefits Burlington Northern, who will be able to move more quickly through an area that is heavily populated. According to the DOT, we will have more trains moving through Bellingham as a result of this proposal.
A review of Federal Stimulus fund awards in Washington reveals that the neither the Port or the City of Bellingham is on the applicant list for federal Economic Stimulus Funds, despite the fact that there are numerous projects in Bellingham Bay that are excellent candidates for funding.
In other words, the Mayor stampeded council members into making a hasty decision by providing them with false assurances that funding was in the process of being approved at both the state and federal level.
The result: we have a Waterfront Framework plan that does not have adequate public input and has drawn criticism from the architects and members of the WAG (who was not consulted).
Not a very good start for Bellingham's Waterfront!
Link to Bellingham Concerns video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OyvyUxm2cc
City of Bellingham City Council Meeting Agendas, minutes and videos: http://www.cob.org/government/council/meeting-materials.aspx
Governor's Recovery Funding website: http://www.recovery.wa.gov/
Dept of Ecology Funding: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/StimFunding/FedStimFundsSRF.html