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Railway agreement violates competitive bidding laws

GS Heating
Published:05/26/2008 Other
Railway agreement violates competitive bidding laws    Print Snohomish Times    
I am writing on behalf of Snohomish Citizens for Government Accountability concerning Snohomish Countys recent agreement with GNP Railway.

Our organization has recently learned that Snohomish County has provided GNP Railway the "running rights" to use "350 feet of the county-owned Centennial Trail" in the City of Snohomish to operate commuter trains from there to Bellevue and eventually to Renton.

In our review of the situation, we have strong reason to believe that Snohomish County has violated state competitive bidding laws (RCW 39).

Specifically, Snohomish County did not solicit bids or have a competitive bidding process prior to its recent agreement with GNP Railway. In addition, the process was not transparent and there was no opportunity for citizens to provide input or public comment to Snohomish County. Furthermore, the 350 feet of county-owned Centennial Trail is near to several neighborhoods, playgrounds and schools in the City of Snohomish, and Snohomish County has not notified residents of the potential impacts of having commuter trains running through neighborhoods in the City of Snohomish.

In a recent article in the Seattle Times, Bruce Agnew of Cascadia Center also expressed concerned about Snohomish Countys deal with GNP Railway stating: We need an open process and a public competition.

In conclusion, we would strongly urge Snohomish County to rescind its recent behind- closed-doors agreement with GNP Railway, and to initiate a new more open and transparent process regarding the 350 feet of county-owned Centennial Trail that will allow for citizens to participate in a public and open process and to provide input to Snohomish County.

Tim Johnson
Principal Consultant
Snohomish Citizens for Government Accountability

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - Snohomish County has signed onto a plan for commuter rail service between Snohomish and Bellevue. Tom Payne and his company, GNP Railway, hope to spend as much as $150 million to $200 million to rehabilitate railroad tracks, build five stations and a 12-foot-wide trail and buy engines and passenger cars.

Payne hopes that by 2013, six morning trains and six evening trains will be running at half-hour intervals and carrying 10,000 riders a day. The trains would use tracks now owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe. By comparison, Sound Transit currently has 9,300 riders on commuter trains linking Seattle with Tacoma and Everett. Peter Camp, the county's executive director and an adviser to County Executive Aaron Reardon, says the county is not putting any money into the deal.
By Associated Press

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