Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

Archive for February, 2010

Feb 27 2010

SR 520: We’re Almost there!

Published by under Transportation

Updates:

Seattle City Council: SR 520 Special Committee meeting on Thursday, 4/08/2010 at 5:30 PM. Council will review consultant’s recommendations and the second half of the meeting will be devoted to public comments.

Senate Bill (SB 6392 – 2009-10: Clarifying the use of revenue generated from tolling the state route number 520 corridor.) Senate (3/09/2010, President signed) House (3/10/2010, Speaker signed)

House Bill (HB 2929 – 2009-10: Clarifying the use of revenue generated from tolling the state route number 520 corridor.) 2010 1ST SPECIAL SESSION: Mar 15 By resolution, reintroduced and retained in present status.

The Albert D. Rosellini Bridge, formerly the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, and what we all know as the 520 bridge is scheduled to be replaced with a new floating bridge by 2014. Approximately 115,000 vehicles carrying 155,000 people use the bridge everyday (note: the bridge was only designed for 65,000 vehicles). Everyone agrees that the second longest floating bridge in Washington needs to be replaced as soon as possible and the replacement should be six-lanes (3 lanes east and 3 lanes west). While discussion to replace the 47 year old bridge began in 1997 and engineers have identified 2017 as the last year of its useful life despite annual repairs, recent debate over final designs and engineering of how to use the third lane and the impact of traffic flow through the neighborhoods at the Montlake interchange has prompted a 120 day timeline for the State and the City of Seattle to reach an agreement and not jeopardize the 2014 completion date and the $4.65 billion dollar budget allocated for the SR 520 project.

To be candid, this is what is laid out on the table, for all parties to reach an agreement. Representatives on the west side favor using the third lane for high-capacity transit (bus-rapid transit in 2014 and light rail installed for future use). The current proposal (option A+) supports using the third lane for HOV (high occupancy vehicles). Governor Gregoire and the office of the Attorney General state that revisiting the configuration of the third lane would set the project back 18-24 months.

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Feb 26 2010

2010 Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Work Plan and 2010 Council Priorities

At the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee meetings on January 6th and February 3rd the work programs for both City Light and the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) were approved by the committee. The work programs can be viewed below.

Also, on Monday, February 22, the Council announced our 2010 priorities to a standing room only Council Chambers. The priorities are laid out in three groups with sub-topics. My priorities cover Clean Energy, Access and Transparency and Race and Social Justice. In addition to my three priorities, there are 14 more priorities that will be divided up among my colleagues. You can view Council’s briefly described priorities below:

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Feb 24 2010

Seattle City Light and Pend Oreille County: Heading to Arbitration?

Published by under Seattle City Light

Back in February of 2009, I posted a piece about Seattle City Light’s ongoing negotiations with Pend Oreille County over the amount the Utility should pay Pend Oreille County for the impact of City Light’s Boundary Dam there. Boundary Dam accounts for approximately 50 percent of the electricity used by City Light Customers. After more than a year of negotiation, an agreement has still not been reached. Legislation was introduced in Olympia that we believed would not have been favorable to City Light or its customers. It called for City Light to pay Pend Oreille County 7 percent of the Utility tax that City Light pays annually to the City of Seattle, which would have amounted to $2.3 million. This is significantly higher than the $1.4 million City Light has paid annually for the last 10 years to Pend Oreille County.

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Feb 21 2010

How City Light Can Address Wholesale Revenue Volatility: Creation of City Light Rate Stabilization Fund

Published by under Seattle City Light

As Chair of the Energy, Technology, and Civil Rights Committee (ETC), one area of concern that I have raised is how to deal with the volatility of wholesale power revenue. This is trading activity that of course, comes with some degree of risk. Given the fortunate economies that surrounded City Light’s trading activity in years past, the Council was never really forced to address this issue. Now it is time.

At the ETC meeting on February 3rd the Committee agreed to recommend establishing a $100 million Revenue Stabilization Fund (RSF) for City Light. The RSF has been identified as the best approach to help protect customers and the Utility from the volatility of wholesale power revenue. You may know, the Council passed a Resolution that established transitional financial policies for setting electric rates in 2010 and this RSF is part of the permanent financial policy strategy that I would like to see take effect this spring.

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Feb 17 2010

News Release: City Light Review Panel

Published by under Seattle City Light

Below is the press release I issued today (2/17/2010) concerning a new Seattle City Light Review Panel.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 17, 2010

Seattle City Council to Build New City Light Review Panel
Group will help guide strategic planning, financial policies and rate reviews

Seattle – Today Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell announced the City Council is seeking candidates for membership on the new City Light Review Panel which replaces the City Light Advisory Committee. That group terminated on January 31, 2010.

The Council intends to re-define the governance of City Light with the new Review Panel. Previously, the Council engaged two separate committees that worked on City Light issues. The City Light Advisory Committee previously had five members who worked on a wide array of issues with general oversight. The City Light Rate Advisory Committee had nine members who specifically worked on rate issues.

The new Review Panel examines the functions of the former groups and establishes nine members from a cross-section of citizens from business leaders to people on the neighborhood level. Its purpose will be scoped and focused, charged with reviewing and assessing City Light’s strategic plan; assisting in community outreach to discuss the strategic plan; independently assessing the adequacy of City Light’s financial policies and reviewing changes to City Light’s rates.

“The people and businesses demand a utility that represents their interests; cost efficient, reliable power that is environmentally sustainable. To be competitive, the utility must rely on the hard work and ingenuity of its employees, coupled with the needs and demands of its customers. This panel puts that infrastructure in place,” said Councilmember Harrell.

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