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Spokane City Council candidates debate streetcar plan

The following was asked on The S-R's candidate questionnaire. Candidate Chris Bowen declined to submit a questionnaire. Here are the answers, which were allowed to be up to 150 words, from the five other people hoping to replace Bob Apple and represent Northeast Spokane on the council.

Do you support asking voters for a sales tax to build a streetcar or trolley system in central Spokane?

Continue reading the post to find out their answers.

Gary Pollard:


Mike Fagan:

NO! Especially if it would come under the auspices of STA, which continually has issues with their budget. I don’t begrudge folks for wanting to use public transportation or bicycles, but I love my car. I believe that the vast majority of folks in Spokane are likeminded. We can’t afford it in this current economic environment, and I surely wouldn’t want to have to have to address this while there are other pressing issues that the city faces. I have always believed that “prosperity solves the issue of poverty.” Can we get Spokane healthy again before we decide to get more ambitious?

Luke Tolley:

The current economic climate Spokane is in does not justify the building of a streetcar system downtown.  I’m in favor of the idea as a practical transportation option and an economic engine, but I do not see how the cost-benefit analysis could pencil out at this time.  It is good to do long-term, detailed planning for an effort like this as long as those involved are realistic that a project of this nature with a large initial investment needs to be planned for and budgeted for over a long period of time. 

John Waite:

No. We don’t have the money to fund an extra transportation project right now. We do need a downtown loop for STA and our hybrid busses are a good investment in keeping down the cost and emissions of our public transit system. A bus route on the proposed trolley loop could be used to verify that we have adequate ridership demand for a proposed trolley.

Donna McKereghan:

Not at this time, but when the economy returns to the “boom” part of the “boom-bust” economic cycle, I think we need to invest in this incentive for businesses in the downtown core. I favor extending it into the University District and the Monroe Business corridor, as well. Once it's in place, even in a limited place, I think it will naturally expand even farther – both in distance and in use by the public. But today may not be the day to build it unless it is clearly more cost efficient than existing public transit.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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