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Then too, the fear that downtowns would hollow out without these kinds of large infrastructure subsidies seems to have abated, as many cities are enjoying downtown housing and commercial booms. "It can go away fast," warns Ellis, noting the decline of activist citizens and the way an outbreak of crime can cripple urban revivals.
Accordingly, the moment may have passed for realizing this overarching Seattle dream. The coalition and the funding are probably not there to realize anything like a comprehensive rail system. Awkwardly, there are financial and other powerful interests who don't want to give up, so it will be hard to turn the page. Like other battles extending back to the 1960s, we keep refighting the issue over smaller and smaller plans, as a kind of cultural war.
We're still unable, after four decades of this noble and sad saga, to answer Sen. Magnuson's incisive question: "Do your people want it?"
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