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Light rail down but not out after vote

Mon., Nov. 13, 2006

Light rail efforts are getting close to running off the tracks.

The Spokane Transit Authority Board will consider this week whether to continue funding design and planning for a proposed light rail system between Spokane and Liberty Lake. Voters last week said they’ve had enough.

Two advisory issues on the ballot failed decisively, indicating a lack of public support for studying ways to pay for the system and using existing STA funds to continue design.

“I believe the people have spoken. If people aren’t willing to pay for it, we can’t have it,” said Spokane Valley City Councilman and STA Board Member Rich Munson. “I think light rail is done for a while.”

The project would cost about $265 million to build, and much if not most of that funding would have to be generated locally.

Munson thinks the community could better afford a bus rapid transit system.

But some proponents aren’t ready to give up on light rail.

“I’ve been getting phone calls from all over the region from people saying, ‘We thought this was going to be easy, so we didn’t participate, and now we’re sorry,’ ” said Liberty Lake Councilman and STA board member Brian Sayrs.

Sayrs said previous polls have shown support for light rail, so the time may just be right to pursue it outside of STA.

Buckle up or pay up

Panhandle drivers better get those seat belts buckled. Law enforcement officers are making a priority of ticketing seat belt law violators this month.

The 20 percent of people who don’t wear their seat belts acount for 60 percent of those killed in Idaho vehicle crashes, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

The fine for breaking the seat belt law ranges from $10-$69.

Shiny new buses

Spokane-area drivers may have noticed that buses are looking a bit spiffier.

Spokane Transit recently purchased 19 new buses. They have a low design that allows drivers to open the doors at curb level, making the buses easier to board. All have wheelchair ramps, and cost less to operate than the buses they are replacing.

And if you’re proud of the 250,000 miles on your car, those old buses averaged 750,000 miles apiece.

With an oil change every 3,000 miles, that would be 250 changes each.

Slow going

Downtown Spokane

Post Street is restricted between the Post Street Bridge and Spokane Falls Boulevard daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect slowdowns.

North Spokane

Riverside State Park work to repair a rock wall along Aubrey L. White Parkway could cause delays between the wastewater treatment plant and Downriver Golf Course and from the Bowl and Pitcher area and Rifle Club Road.

Work at Waikiki and North Five Mile Road could cause closures and one-way traffic. Expect delays.

West Plains

Hayford Road is under construction from Highway 2 to Sprague Avenue. Only one lane of traffic is open in each direction.

Spokane Valley

Indiana is closed from Arc to Barker Road for utility work.


Work at Seltice Way and Corbin Road in Post Falls will create a one-lane situation with flaggers today from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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