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Mayor Ed Murray on KeyArena Transportation issues: ‘Transportation is a huge issue at the SODO site (too)’

Q13 Sports Director Aaron Levine briefly caught up with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray after a public press conference announcing the extension of the Seattle Storm’s lease at KeyArena through 2028. He was limited in the number of questions he could ask regarding the arena situation but got in as many as he could.

Interview below:

Here is a transcript:

Aaron Levine: "So many people say the transportation issue is just too big of one to even consider remodeling KeyArena. What are your thoughts?

Mayor Murray: “Well, transportation is a huge issue as you know at the other site - the SODO site.”

Levine: “Really, More than here (at KeyArena)?”

Murray: “I would say that there are significant transportation challenges there. There are significant transportation challenges here. The thing the city has to ask ourselves is - (KeyArena) is the city’s. If there is a new arena somewhere else, what would happen to (KeyArena)? This is literally a $150 million liability to the taxpayers of this city. So I think the question is this: How do we make this work for the taxpayers of this city?"

Levine: “So this arena (KeyArena) is getting preferential treatment over SODO because it is a city asset?

Murray: “SODO went to the city council and the city council made a decision and I honored that proposal. At that point, I said we would begin looking at the future of what KeyArena is and that’s what we are now looking at - the future of KeyArena.

Levine: “The Monorail - is that actually a viable solution for transportation given that light rail won’t be here until 2035?”

Murray: “Monorail is absolutely not going to be a solution. We're going to have to have interim solutions, should we have a site here. But remember, within the decade, just over the decade there will be a light rail station that will come here. So the question is: How do you deal with that interim problem. Thank you very much”

Levine: “You are a lame duck mayor why try to push this through so quickly?”

Murray: “I’m the Mayor of Seattle and I’m Mayor of Seattle for the rest of the year. You know, to me that sounds to me like one of those questions they used to put to President Obama: Why should you support his Supreme Court Justice? I was elected for four years - not three and a half."

(Later, in media scrum)

Levine: "Rob Johnson earlier this week said the timeline if they signed off on a KeyArena plan, there would still be several years before the start of construction. Do you agree with that timeline?

Murray: "It wouldn't be right away, that's for sure. But this thing's been sitting here for over a decade waiting for a decision to be made."

Levine: "Several years - would you worry about an opportunity for an NHL team passing you by if that were the case?"

Murray: "I believe that if we have a viable arena proposal on the table, then an NHL team will be here."