Statements of Support for Retention
of the Eastside Railroad

John Creighton, Port of Seattle Commission President

I would not be in favor of tearing up the tracks until we as a region have time to study it.
        -- Seattle Times, November 28, 2007

I'm very concerned about the symbolism of tearing up the tracks. I think once you tear up the tracks, it becomes that much more difficult both from a cost standpoint and a political standpoint to put the tracks back in there.
        --Seattle Times, December 1, 2007

I personally feel that the failure of Proposition 1 changes the landscape.
        --Woodinville Weekly, December 3, 2007

I've gotten a letter from the Woodinville mayor saying don't tear up the tracks, I've got a letter from the mayor of Bellevue saying don't tear up the tracks, and I just got out of a meeting with the mayor of Burien who said you would be crazy to tear up the tracks.
        --Seattle Times, December 14, 2007

The Daily Herald:

...it would be hasty and short-sighted to proceed with ripping out the existing rails without thoroughly considering ways to use the route for trains... Once tracks are removed, it may be politically impossible to bring them back. A new eastside commuter route has too much upside to be dismissed without a much closer look.
        HeraldNet, December 4, 2007

Reagan Dunn, King County Councilmember:

Last summer I called the dinner train a cultural and economic pillar of the community. Without an extension of the lease agreement, that pillar is on shaky ground. Until a conclusion is reached on the purchase, I don't want to see anything impact train service.
        --King County website, January 11, 2006

Read Fay, retired BNSF regional manager

At this point, we're just trying to save the rails from being torn up, and save the corridor for transportation. ... Tearing up rails, history shows us, they don't come back.
        -- Seattle Times, November 28, 2007

Bob Ferguson, King County Councilmember:

Let's keep the dinner train running. The dinner train is an important economic engine for our community and should be allowed to operate during negotiations without fear of interruption.
        --King County website, January 11, 2006

Alec Fisken, Port of Seattle Commissioner:

[It] seems like an awful lot of taxpayer money to tear up a railroad.
        --Seattle Times, February 27, 2007

And the destruction of a key operating rail line -- one that could be the transit corridor of the future -- is a disastrous mistake. The better choice is to preserve the rail while adding a trail system; there is room in the right of way for both.
        --Seattle Times, November 9, 2006

Tim Gould, Sierra Club Cascade Chapter Transportation Chair:

The Sierra Club Cascade Chapter is 100% behind keeping the corridor intact and maintaining the rail line for passenger and freight use.
        --E-mail message, January 11, 2007

Kathy Keolker, Renton Mayor:

This is a county that can't afford to maintain its parks. So I just don't get it -- where is this money going to come from?
        -- Seattle Times, May 17, 2005

We are very disappointed that the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train will be closing its Renton operations. . . . Every year, the train has had over 1.4 million guests and has made a significant contribution to our local economy. The City of Renton strongly supports retaining a railroad and encourages the Washington State Department of Transportation to consider options to keep the rail line open. Our best wishes to the owners and all those who were part of the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train.
        --City of Renton website.

Thom McCann, candidate for Port of Seattle Commissioner:

The deal as currently proposed does not save this railroad. We need to save it. We need to stop this swap.
        --E-mail message, June 21, 2007

Frank Mendizabal, spokesman for Weyerhaeuser Co.:1

We want to remain at this location, this is a key plant for us, and the rail link is vital to remain competitive there. Our position is that we are opposed to the process to abandon the line.
        --Puget Sound Business Journal, December 1, 2006

Chuck Mott, leader of All Aboard Washington:

How can politicians say they want to reduce carbon emissions and allow an important rail corridor to disappear?
        -- Seattle Times, November 3, 2007

ordinary citizens:2

Why do they want to do something so stupid?

It doesn't make any sense.
        --Eastside surveys, 2007

Larry Phillips, King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Board member:

Once it's dedicated as a trail, it'll stay that way forever. ... To limit this transit corridor to a trail has given me real significant heartburn.
        --Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 3, 2007

My position can be summed up in two words: Start over. They're cannibalizing a major transportation corridor on the Eastside...
        --Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 27, 2007

The Eastside rail corridor has potential freight-mobility advantages for the Port.
        --Seattle Times, May 25, 2007

Al Runte, former Seattle mayoral candidate and historian:

[The plan to scrap the railroad and replace it with a bicycle trail is] a colossal mistake. It's the dumbest idea this region has had.
        --Seattle Times, February 27, 2007

Seattle P-I:

There already is a paved biking-walking trail between Renton and Bellevue, which parallels the track and Interstate 405 most of the way.
        --Seattle P-I, December 14, 2007

Eric Temple, operator of the Spirit of Washington dinner train:

King County can lease it to me. With the current freight traffic and dinner-train revenue, I could not only afford to maintain the track for the county, I could afford to pay them rent, too, and I'd be thrilled to have a trail next to my train track.
        --Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 18, 2005

Bill Virgin, columnist:

Odder still is that it's King County, which ordinarily loves to yammer endlessly about the need for multiple transportation options, participating so enthusiastically in a project to remove one.
        -- Seattle P-I, November 21, 2006

Danny Westneat, Seattle Times staff columnist

Forty miles of track are begging to be used. Happily, it runs next to I-405...
        -- Seattle Times, November 28, 2007

1Weyerhaeuser operates a 174,400-square-foot specialty box manufacturing plant in Bellevue's industrial district which employs 125 workers. The plant is dependent on frequent shipments by rail of raw paper and wax. Mendizabal added the 1,100-pound rolls of paper from which the plant fabricates boxes could be brought in by trucks, but that would triple the current shipping cost. Also it would further add to the area's already serious traffic congestion and air pollution.

2These were the most frequently heard comments about the plan to scrap the railroad during public opinion surveys and meetings conducted by Eastside Rail Now! in 2007.

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This page created January 13, 2007. Last updated December 21, 2007.
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