McKenna continues his stand against progress, voters and light rail

Yesterday, Republican Rob McKenna continued his more than decade long opposition to light rail at a Bellevue event. McKenna, long aligned with conservative developer Kemper Freeman and Tim Eyman, has consistently opposed Sound Transit's efforts to bring light rail across I-90, despite overwhelming voter support of a 2008 expansion measure, rejection of Eyman's Initiative 1125 in 2011, and a Kittitas County Judge's recent rejection of Freeman's lawsuit to prevent light rail expansion.

I-1125 was opposed by a broad coalition of labor, business and transit advocates - including Microsoft and the Bellevue Downtown Association - who consistently support light rail and transit as a critical element of a strong regional economy.

"Voters have made it clear they want light rail across I-90 and into Bellevue. Businesses and employers have made it clear it's part of our economic growth strategy. The courts have rejected efforts to stop this project. When will Republican Rob McKenna respect the people, employers, and courts and move beyond his cynical opposition to rail and transit?" asked Jaime Smith, press secretary for Jay Inslee.

Publicola reported that at the event, McKenna said “you know that I am a deep, deep skeptic of bringing light rail across I-90” and “the only way out… I can see on that is having a public vote.” Audio of his statements available here.

McKenna has long defended the positions of his donor Kemper Freeman, and even as a County Councilmember and Sound Transit board member made his opposition to light rail clear.

“Rob McKenna needs to stop doing the bidding of his donors and get out of the way of progress, voters, and light rail,” continued Smith.


McKenna Declared That Light Rail “Is Not Worth The Money.” McKenna told a gathering of business leaders at the Redmond Chamber of Commerce that light rail is “not worth the money.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported, …McKenna, who is…on the Sound Transit board, told the group that rail is not worth the money and he fears money now designated for use only on the Eastside will be spent bailing out the financially risky Seattle project scheduled for completion in 2009.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2/14/01]

McKenna Decried Support Of Light Rail Proposals As “Putting Lipstick On A Sow.” According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “‘You can’t put lipstick on a sow…And this project is a pig . . . and we haven’t even started building it yet," said McKenna, who cast the sole vote of dissent [on the vote to accept federal funding for light rail]…” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/24/01]

McKenna Collaborated With Other Light Rail Opponents To Produce “Manifesto” Arguing For More Road Spending And Delaying Any Investment In Light Rail. McKenna collaborated with other opponents of light rail, including developer Kemper Freeman Jr., to produce a “manifesto” calling for more road spending and killing light rail. The Seattle Times reported, “Simultaneously, McKenna and Bundy were holding meetings with other rail critics. They received technical advice and help writing a manifesto from Seattle transportation consultant Bill Eager, a vehement rail critic… Sane Transit’s manifesto includes statements made by Eager and Freeman in their quest to build more roads, including the argument that the region should study alternatives before spending money on the rail project.” [Seattle Times, 10/8/00]

McKenna For Governor Received $800 From Kemper Freeman. [McKenna, C4, PDC, October 10, 2011]

McKenna For Attorney General Received $3200 From Kemper & Betty Freeman In 2004. [McKenna for Attorney General, PDC, accessed 3/22/12]

Kemper Holdings Gave $2700 to McKenna’s Attorney Generals Campaigns. [McKenna, PDC, accessed 3/22/12]

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