This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 20, 2002

Seattle Narrowly Passes $1.75-Billion Monorail Measure

A citizen petition in Seattle, Washington, to create a monorail system passed by a narrow margin, according to official election results released on November 20th. Out of more than 196,000 votes cast, the monorail measure passed by only 877 votes. After initial election results showed a slight lead for the measure, the lead dwindled during the extended tally of absentee ballots, and at one point the measure was actually losing by three votes. See the King County press release and election results.

With passage of the measure, a Seattle Popular Monorail Authority will now be formed to build and manage a $1.75 billion monorail that will run along a 14-mile corridor, running along a generally north-south route from Ballard, through the city's Central District, and ending in West Seattle. It will be paid for through a motor-vehicle excise tax of $140 per $10,000 of value, except during the first year when buying a new car. The measure follows two previous initiatives that helped to shape the plan for the monorail. For more information about the monorail plan, see the Seattle Monorail Project Web site.

Although monorails date back to the 1800s, and are popular in Japan, they have seen limited use for mass transit in the United States. For more information about monorails, see the Monorail Society Web site (which includes some gloating over the Seattle measure).