Regarding your Sunday editorial, “A major boost for region”: You are right that investor Chris Hansen has presented Seattle with a very good opportunity. I question the commitment from the community, however. It will please the NBA fans, but my read on the majority of the taxpayers is a “here we go again” attitude. These things seem to always cost more than the overly enthusiastic supporters say it will.
In this case, the traffic issue is being kind of glossed over. The Port of Seattle is very concerned, or seemingly so, but one has to wonder, seeing as how we hardly heard a peep out of them when the first two stadiums were built. My guess is the port will take this opportunity to push the city, county and state for more traffic fixes. And that is where the taxpayer comes in. A solution for traffic in the area is going to be expensive, and Seattle has already failed in its commitment for its share of the money needed for the first two stadiums, as far as traffic fixes.
This arena is not going to be self-funded, as hyped. The arena itself, yes, but the rest of the costs, mainly access and egress, will be on the taxpayer dime, well disguised as an economic issue benefiting the whole state.
Our tax dollars don’t need to be spent on playpens for millionaires. The average family cannot even afford to go to these games.
My solution? Build it where access and egress are not such an issue. Probably on the east side of Lake Washington. As a matter of fact, I believe that I read that the majority of the fans live on the Eastside.
Seattle will go apoplectic, of course. Their delusions of “world class” would be shattered, but I believe that an arena could be built for a lot less almost anyplace else. Getting to and from the games will be much easier, even for Seattleites. We can still get whatever economic benefits these things provide and it will not cost us near as much and I doubt that Chris Hansen cares where, as much as he cares about getting approval and financial help, period.
A huge win for the region, you bet, but not in Seattle. We should have learned our lesson by now in that regard.