Wednesday, July 06, 2005

It's time to pull plug on monorail

Here are a few great examples of how NOT to do it right. But, as is the case in most ventures in life, there is never a shortage of scripts for failures. And, what plays well in one area may not work in another.
It's time to pull plug on monorail My sense is that the Seattle Monorail Project has entered a lengthy, costly death spiral.

It's time to show mercy on Seattle's squeezed middle-class taxpayers. Let's pull the plug on this exercise of duplicity and waste.

The agency has managed already to pile up a $100 million debt, with what to show for it? It is chugging along at $4 million a month. Interesting to see will be cost figures on the spasm of advertising churned out to defend the discredited financing plan.

In Pittsburgh, at least, we've not spent too much money on Maglev. Sending Brenda to a German vacation or taking some photos while we're in China is not a big deal.

But, we've already spent a lot of money on the plan for the tunnels under the river to the ball parks on the lower North Side.

This is when it takes courage to pull the plug. After spending a good bit of money, it is harder to stop. But, it makes sense to do so from time to time. Don't toss good money after bad. All the spending in the world might not save some projects and turn them into prudent projects that are community centered and sustainable.

Even the convention center enters this type of thinking. Great building, but great burden with overhead and upkeep. Its costs to operate are high, year in and year out. So, we should consider a cut to those losses. I don't mean we should tear it down. Rather, we should sell it off.

Turn the convention center into the slots parlor. Then let the operators of the slots parlor also be private venture for the stadium and exibition authority. They'd run the convention center without any public money. They'd buy it from us.

Then if they want to build another slots hall -- fine. Do it while they operate the one in the Convention Center and then they'll be able to turn the Convention Center into something else -- on their own.

The city and county don't need to be in the big gambling business of being a conention center operator. But, we've got it now. And, we can get out of it soon, with the slots license.

As a zoning move, we could zone the convention center as a facility that is okay for slots. Then the ball is rolling in our favor.

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