4-25-08 email from Bob Ferguson

Here the response I got from Bob Ferguson when I sent the Cascade Bike Club drafted letter to him about rail-banking:

fromFerguson, Bob

dateFri, Apr 25, 2008 at 3:46 PM
subjectBNSF Eastside Corridor

hide details Apr 25 (5 days ago) Reply

Thank you for contacting me regarding the BNSF Eastside Corridor. I appreciate you taking the time to write, and your interest in establishing a multi-use trail. I support turning our shared vision of a multi-use trail into a reality.

You may be aware that the Burke Gilman Trail goes through my district, so I know firsthand how important it is to have trails as transportation options. My trusty Peugeot U09 helps me get around and along with the bus was my sole transportation to school and work for many years. I did not own a car until I was in my 30’s. For me, the need for dedicated bicycle commute options is not abstract, but a practical reality that influences the decisions I make as an elected official.

The Port of Seattle has committed to buying the corridor for over $100 million. King County is buying an easement to build a multi-use trail for approximately $2 million. The negotiations between BNSF Railway, the Port of Seattle and King County are complex and ongoing. I am heavily involved in these negotiations. As with any deal that is being negotiated, the documents are all a work in progress and change by the hour. One thing that isn’t changing is my commitment to dual use of the corridor, for trail and rail users alike.

I understand that some people have heard that the port will have “veto power” over county decisions about the multi-use trail. The phrase “veto power” is not in the documents and has not been part of any discussions. I believe this misconception may refer to different points in the corridor at which the port and the county will need to work out the width of the trail area. Currently, the width is to be generally between 10 and 30 feet. The port and county will make these decisions following a public process, during which we will seek input from trail users.

My guiding principles for the negotiations are:

Ø I support the port and county effort to bring the corridor into public ownership.
Ø I support having the corridor rail banked.
Ø I support a regional public process for determining the future use of the corridor and the trail.
Ø I support building a trail.
Ø I recognize that multi-use and bicycle transportation corridors will become increasingly important commuting options as gridlock worsens and commuters recognize the environmental impacts of their commute choices.
Ø I believe public input is vital to effective democracy.

I encourage you to testify about the BNSF Eastside Corridor at the King County Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday morning, April 28, 2008. The meeting will be held at the King County Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse at 516 Third Avenue in Downtown Seattle. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. There may also be other opportunities for public testimony. I will keep you updated on those as the matter proceeds.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me in the future at (206) 296-1001 or bob.ferguson@kingcounty.gov.



Bob Ferguson
King County Councilmember
Metropolitan King County Council, District 1
516 3rd Avenue, Room 1200
Seattle, WA 98104
ph: (206) 296-1001 | fx: (206) 296-0198
For more information: http://www.kingcounty.gov/ferguson
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