Mayor Mike McGinn and one of his many challengers, Tim Burgess, represent a case study in the divide over transportation spending in Seattle.

Burgess’s view: With the city facing a nearly $2 billion backlog in transportation needs, this isn’t the time to splurge on fanciful new projects. Instead, he argued in March, the city should adopt a “fix it first” approach: filling potholes and repairing the bridges that are already falling instead of building new ones. 

Taking a radically different tack is McGinn, who supports building a new light rail bridge across the ship canal, miles of new bike lanes, and a citywide streetcar network. 

The mayor’s race will be a referendum on many of -McGinn’s policies, of course, but transportation will weigh heavily on that list. And the election of either man in November will be a mandate for a clear transportation vision, whether it’s Burgess’s back-to-basics philosophy or McGinn’s grand dreams.

 

Published: May 2013

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