Monday, January 29, 2007

Evergreen Point Blank

The fat cats are at it again and just maybe this time homeowners in the Seattle area are going to get a pleasant surprise.

On Friday, the Regional Transportation Investment District ‘reshuffled’ a new transportation plan that would begin construction on a modern six-lane bridge connecting Seattle to the Eastside via Route 520. The RTID voted unanimously to replace the Evergreen Point Bridge, which links the metro regions across Lake Washington. The new plan would also include expansion of the Sound Transit’s light rail system, further connecting Seattle to outlaying areas.

The real challenge comes in November, when voters go to the polls to ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ the plan that would be partially funded out of taxpayers’ own pockets. The board plans to raise both vehicle license prices and institute a small increase on sales tax, as well as tolls levied on the bridge itself.

The plan’s 8.5 billion dollar price tag is daunting, but it should have property owners smiling. The improved transportation between Seattle and the Eastside would almost certainly ensure greater opportunity for jobs and provide a lift to the real estate market.

Both areas would most likely see increased demand, pushing up home prices, and strengthening a market that has taken a slight hit in the past two years. Easier access to Seattle proper would make the Eastside more attractive to downtown businessmen weary of long commutes. Seattle residents would gain far easier sojourns out of town and increased commerce between the areas.

The main key is this: transportation is the unsung hero of the real estate market. Easier mobility and faster commutes puts nothing but money straight into the property. The RTID is thinking progressively here, realizing the higher demand for housing downtown and making areas that once stood out of the way more easily accessible.

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