Photo courtesy of the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
Mayor Mike McGinn announces his plan to study the economic impacts of coal.

Mayor announces study on economic impacts of potential coal trains

Mayor Mike McGinn is on the offensive against coal again.

Earlier today, he announced that the City of Seattle will soon commission a study on the local economic impacts that would result from extra trains should a proposed coal export terminal be built. Up to 18 trains could be passing through Seattle (and through Ballard), each one more than a mile long.

Findings from this initial economic impact analysis will inform city of Seattle policymakers, interested stakeholders, and the general public of the potential range and magnitude of local economic impacts from the proposed coal terminal and associated train operations, a press release issued by the Mayor's Office stated.

The impact review will study the following:

  • Impacts on operations and employment for the Port of Seattle
  • Impacts on operations, employment and sales for businesses along the proposed coal train route, including the Duwamish industrial and north waterfront districts
  • Evaluation of the displacement of higher value goods being shipped by rail
  • Determination of additional infrastructure improvements or policy measures that would be required to support coal train operations and/or mitigate coal train impacts

An initial review of traffic and safety impacts has already been conducted by the Seattle Department of Transportation. That study found the added number of trains could delay traffic at railroad crossings by one to three hours.

In Ballard, residents have expressed concerns about preserving Golden Gardens, Carkeek Park and the overall environmental health of the neighborhood. However, in phone conversations, other residents have taken a more reserved approach, weighing the possibility of economic benefits.

No residents have raised major concerns to the Ballard News-Tribune about possible traffic impacts in the neighborhood in specific. Though some are concerned about the possible effects on the waterfront and the Port of Seattle.

A public scoping meeting will be held tomorrow in the Washington State Convention Center, Ballroom 6F, 800 Convention Place, at 4 p.m. People can address either their concerns or support for the proposed export terminal near Bellingham.

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