Sitting in his transition offices in the Seattle Municipal Tower today, Mayor-elect Mike McGinn said he may try to place a light-rail expansion measure on the ballot as early as next year. During the campaign, he vowed to let voters decide if they wanted to extend the light-rail system to Ballard and West Seattle "within two years." Asked today if he was still committed to putting it on the 2011 ballot, he said, "We said we would put light-rail on the ballot within two years. The question is, can we do planning to do it in 2010? That seems aggressive but possible."
Asked how he would expect the fight to look—a proposition that would cost taxpayers hundreds of million of dollars—he said, "I don't think it will be so much of a fight." He says typically the state stops people from even voting on expanding mass transit. "Voters would support it," he said, "but we're not given that choice."
No doubt, the Seattle Times will issue an endorsement telling voters to reject any light-rail extension, which is exactly they did in 2008 (when it also rejected the parks levy, which McGinn championed). But McGinn is probably correct that persuading Seattle voters to extend light rail wouldn't be "much of a fight." He's beaten the Times' endorsement board before.