They've changed stuff. Elevators instead of escalators! More austere stations! Outrageous! This isn't what we voted for. We hate everything and want the plan scrapped. The response Elevators instead of escalators? That's the best you can come up with? It's pathetic. No sane human being gives a shit whether there are elevators rather than escalators in the stations. And don't you idiots realize that centrally-placed glass elevators will better accommodate people with bicycles, those in wheelchairs, or kids in strollers? What are you? Anti-bike? Anti-differently-abled? Anti-kid? It's true, the stations will be austere and functional, lacking in frills. They will not include, as members of the public suggested, "interactive bells" or Native American themes or greenery or waterfalls. So what? I want the stations to include pliant, scantily clad women who fan me with palm fronds and hand-feed me dates every time I walk through the door. Not going to happen, but I will be able to get from Ballard to downtown in less than 20 minutes while kicking back and dreaming about pliant, scantily clad women fanning me with palm fronds. Enough said.
The claim Oh horrors! They now plan to use single tracks, rather than the more conventional double tracks, at the far reaches of the line. We may be ignorant boobs who don't know what we're talking about, but we are terrified the trains will get stuck, thus trapping us on the West Seattle Bridge. Even if that doesn't happen, think of the delays and capacity cutbacks! The response You're right, you're ignorant boobs who don't know what you're talking about. First off, they invented this neato thing like 50 years ago. It's called a computer, and it has magic powers, which include the ability to coordinate the locations of 16 driverless trains at once, and keep them moving, thus making it unlikely that single-tracking will cause delays or nasty bridge mishaps. Even with the single track, the wait for trains at outlying stations will only be five minutes at rush hour. Use that time to meditate or strum "Uncle John's Band" on your guitar or play with your crystals or something. The change will save up to $140 million, and capacity will still be far greater than the 20 million annual rides the monorail planners promised.
The claim The noise. My God, the noise! You're running a train through the city. What if our eardrums get blown out? If the monorail isn't going to be absolutely silent, we better not build it. The response Where do you think you are, in some sort of arboreal Eden, where the chirping of the songbirds and the lulling whoosh of the sea breezes foster a sense of transcendental peace? You live in a city, goddamnit! Cities are noisy. Trucks and busses and motorcycles are all noisier than the new monorail will be. We have a monorail now, remember, which runs from Seattle Center to Westlake Center. Have you ever noticed it creating sonic booms as it passed by? Thought not.
The claim The monorail won't even link up with Metro buses. Everyone hates the monorail--Metro is no exception--and without bus feeders, ridership will be anemic. Might as well chuck the whole project now. The response This argument is a complete red herring, based on a two-year-old letter in which Metro raised some concerns about bus-monorail linkups, a letter circulated by obstructionist über-weenie Richard Conlin of the Seattle City Council. Things have changed since then--Metro has reached agreement with the Seattle Monorail Project about serving 18 of the 19 proposed monorail stations, and they're working out a plan to bring bus service to the 19th. And people transferring from buses will probably only have to pay half-fare to ride the monorail. So there.
The claim Monorail finances are in a shambles. Motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) revenues are coming in 30 percent below expectations. Now we'll be paying the tax forever. The response It's true that monorail revenues are not as high as projected. This is a short-term cash-flow problem, however, not a long-term structural one. Now, we don't expect dreamy-eyed Seattleites and their precious vistas to understand the intricacies of capitalist finance, but the rate of increase of MVET in-flows is expected to rise at a pace that will allow the monorail to pay off its bonds--maybe even early. We also don't expect you to understand how Design Build Operate Maintain (DBOM) contracting works, but guess what, the SMP was smart enough to set it up so that the winning bidder has to foot the bill for unforseen overruns.