Should Seattle fix multi-million dollar 'mistakes'?

KING 5's Chris Daniels reports.

SEATTLE - Should Seattle bailout bike share again?

That was one of the topics debated as the Seattle City Council went over line items in the 2017 budget on Wednesday afternoon.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposed budget calls for spending $4.7 million to "replace the existing bike share system with a larger all-electric pedal-assist system."

But councilmembers Tim Burgess and Lisa Herbold, skeptics of the past bail out, presented provisos that could alter that proposal.

Burgess' proposal read:

"...would proviso all capital and operating bike share funding (including the Commercial Parking Tax, Ride Share Tax Credit, and associated grants), contingent on future Council ordinance. Under current budget legislation, there is an outstanding spending proviso on $3.55 million of Commercial Parking Tax for capital expansion."

Herbold's "would cut the $600,000 for bike share operations in 2017 and in 2018, resulting in the shut-down of the current system in January 2017" and redistribute the money.

They didn't have support the last time around, but may in this cycle. Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, a long-time bike supporter, admitted she was "ambivalent" about the program now.

Burgess added, "I don't know why we don't shut down the system today. We lose money every month."

It was just one of multiple issues on the table.

Herbold also pitched a plan to pay for the rest of the proposed Lander Street Overpass. The project, long wanted by the maritime and industrial community, is estimated to cost $142.5 million.

The port and city, along with federal and regional partners, have dedicated all but $27.5 million to the project. 

Herbold pitched filling the gap with "additional Pacific Place Garage revenues; bonded Commercial Parking Tax (CPT) revenues; reduction in CPT backed bonds for the Center City Streetcar; or some combination of these or other sources."

She acknowledged that the plan was not final. Council President Bruce Harrell asked her on Wednesday whether she had consulted with any plans the executive may have for filling the gap.

There did not seem to be the same opposition to fixing a bridge in South Lake Union Park. A small pedestrian span of the bridge, built in 2007, almost immediately had issues. It was closed indefinitely when engineers discovered problems with the abutments on either side, blaming soft soil.

Mayor Murray's budget calls for spending $4.6 million to repair the bridge.

Evan Blanshan, who works in South Lake Union and walks by it every day, said, "It's kind of an eyesore," but "If you had that in your front door, would you be willing to pay money to fix it?"

The council is not expected to make final decisions on any of these issues until mid-November.

Copyright 2016 KING


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