The railroad serving the Port of Seattle is echoing concerns raised by the Port and the Seattle Mariners about the effects of adding a third sports venue in SODO.

In a letter to Seattle City Council President Sally Clark, a top BNSF Railway official said a proposed NBA and NHL arena near CenturyLink and Safeco fields could make traffic worse for port operations.

BNSF believes a much more focused look at traffic and parking impacts as well as the job and economic benefits of our industrial maritime area must be carefully weighed before the city takes any action toward approval of the current arena proposal, wrote Terry Finn, BNSF's executive director of government affairs. (Read the letter below.)

Finn's letter calls out the Arena Review Panel for failing to follow through on infrastructure improvement promises made to support the existing stadiums.

Past city promises to sustain or enhance freight capacity of streets passing along CenturyLink and Safeco fields were not fulfilled as originally planned, and, today, one has only to view the frequent lines of freight trucks along Atlantic street or south of Safeco along First Avenue to witness the impairment by increased sports and general traffic on the efficient workings of the waterfront, Finn wrote.

Finn also said BNSF believes the cost of mitigating traffic, congrestion and terminal access issues could far exceed the advertised cost of constructing the arena itself.

On Thursday, Seattle and King County officials joined lead arena investor Chris Hansen to announce that steps will be taken to ease concerns about traffic in SODO should the arena proposal go forward. Hansen said he will spend up to $10 million in private funds to cover pre-development costs, including a comprehensive transportation study of the SODO area.

Burlington Northern letter re: new sports arena in Seattle's SODO

Reporting by KING 5 News's Linda Brill.

Photo courtesy SLV Native via Flickr

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