Mayor McGinn: No coal trains through Seattle’s waterfront

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coalSEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is making a big push to stop coal trains from running through waterfront property in Seattle.

McGinn will be on hand Thursday night at a public hearing to vote on a big new coal terminal in Bellingham. The terminal would mean up to 18 new trains a day, each more than a mile long. He argues the trains would further congest traffic around the Port of Seattle and the waterfront.

“I think you are seeing the types of concerns that we’re raising here are being raised in communities up and down Oregon and Washington and Vancouver B.C.,” McGinn said.

On Wednesday, McGinn announced plans for a new $25,000 study to determine the economic hit the city could hit, including downtown businesses, if the coal trains were allowed to run. On hand to support the Mayor was the family that owns the new Ferris wheel on Pier 57. Kyle Griffith, the owner of the wheel, said noisy, dirty trains running through downtown could put a damper on the new $20 million waterfront attraction.

“We’re very concerned about any new train routes that would cut off access for our customers and our visitors and our friends and neighbors to come down here,” Griffith said.

Instead, he prefers a plan to allow 24-story residential towers on the edge of South Lake Union.

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  • Hilary B

    Thank you Mayor McGinn, on behalf of all the communities up and down the coast who would be dramatically impacted. Too many politicians have fallen for the false argument of "job creation" and the PR effort to sell this awful proposition is very slick. So, it is wonderful to see Mr. McGinn stand up to the enormous money (e.g. Warren Buffet) behind the coal transport plan.

    • Bob

      Absolutely right! Thank you Mayor McGinn for standing up for the right choice in the face of controversy. I have already wasted hours of my life this year waiting on trains to get to my home, and the impact would be catastrophic on the Waterfront area and the state

  • Cathy Ammons DeRusha

    I have lived in a community Erwin TN, CSX Railroad, where over 100 coal trains came through every day. I lived less than a half mile from the railroad yard where cars were switched 24 hours a day. I knew the only road to the freeway was often blocked, with trains coming through or being connected. I either had to drive 10 minutes east or six minutes west through town, to get on freeway. However, I feel this inconvience much better and having a lot of people working. Not only 100 jobs at the terminal. More employees at BNSF. more jobs, more money spent, more stores to stay open more jobs, and it keeps on rolling down the line. As the emergency being delayed. 911 notified the railroad and the tracks were cleared.

  • Pete

    Make BNSF reopen its line through Bellevue and force them to run those trains to Bellingham through there. Then, the track through Bellevue will be maintained well enough to run Sounder commuter trains through The east side as well. Kill two birds with one stone.

  • Robyn H

    The economic impact of this proposal to cities like Seattle, which depends on its tourism and waterfront attractions for revenue, as well as property owners up and down the coast whose property values will decrease, and taxpayers who will have to foot the bill for pedestrian overpasses and other rail crossing improvements, will more than offset the benefits of a few hundred new jobs that may be gained. Talk about redistribution of wealth! These jobs would come at a sustained cost to millions of people across the region.

  • Jim Wilcox

    Why in the world should the USA ship polluting coal to China only to have it negatively impact the air we breath and the water we drink as well as the Pacific Ocean. Climate change and ocean acidification are directly associated with CO2 increases due to coal – global warming is expected to significantly increase sea levels – will this be included in the benefit:cost ratio ? Our neghbors to the North in Vancouver are evaluating plans for a $9.5 Billion dollar sea wall to mitigate damage from increased sea levels,