Coal train supporters accuse McGinn of burying study

SEATTLE -- Controversy is brewing over a study just released on the possible effects of coal trains rumbling through Seattle on their way to deliver coal bound for China. The study was released more than a month ago, but the largest supporter of the coal train plan is accusing Mayor Mike McGinn of sitting on the report because it didn't prove to be a slam dunk in his favor.

If 18 extra trains carrying coal -- each more than a mile long -- were allowed to travel through Seattle on their way to a Bellingham terminal, traffic delays could double or triple.

But according to a report requested by McGinn about the impact of coal trains, they would generate $28 million for engineering, legal and public relations firms and create millions of investment into Seattle's rail lines.

However, according to the Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports -- the largest supporter of coal trains in our area -- if McGinn had it his way, nobody would ever know the benefits.

"It talks about the millions of dollars that would come into the region; it talked about the jobs," said Lauri Hennessey. "And I believe the mayor just... that was not his image that he didn't want out there talking about these facilities."

Hennessey accuses McGinn of receiving the study in July but he released it just last week.

In response, the mayor's office says it released the report as soon as it was ready, which was last Friday.

McGinn's office argues the study does prove coal trains are dangerous, including a loss in revenues for businesses up to $450,000 and real estate values near the tracks will plummet up to $475 million.