Seattle, March 22, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband Internet communications company, today presented its case before the Sound Transit Board of Directors requesting that the agency set a policy to pay the relocation expenses of all businesses and property owners who are being displaced by the construction of the light-rail system.
Relocation of utility lines and cables to make way for light-rail is a known component of a massive project like the one currently being proposed. Even though those costs are a direct result of the project, Sound Transit does not currently intend to pay for them in the general budget. The current plan calls for these costs to be shifted to utilities and their customers instead of being covered by the voter-approved sales and motor vehicle excise taxes passed in 1996.
?Qwest fully supports the development of multi-modal solutions to our transportation problems,? said Kirk Nelson, Qwest Vice President for Washington. "However, if Sound Transit is going to shift some of the funding for the light-rail project to our customers, then Qwest will take every step necessary to oppose such action.?
Qwest estimates that relocating its network infrastructure for the light-rail system would cost Puget Sound customers tens of millions of dollars. Customers of other utilities such as gas, electric, and cable would be impacted as well.
?We have attempted to resolve this issue directly with Sound Transit, but at this point our main goal is to protect our customers from what we believe to be undue costs and inequitable treatment,? said Nelson. ?When voters approved this project in 1996, they did not expect to pay an undisclosed Sound Transit tax on their utility bills, in addition to the sales and motor vehicle excises taxes.?
In a recent poll conducted in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, 78 percent of respondents said they would oppose a plan to help fund Sound Transit construction through increases in private utility bills.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. The Qwest Macro Capacity(r) Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking equipment for speed and efficiency, spans more than 104,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
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