SEATTLE: After a fierce election battle to gain voter approval for a new monorail, the Seattle Monorail Project has hired PRR to lead PR efforts as the project moves forward. PRR CEO Rita Brogan will act as the Seattle Monorail Project's director of communications.
Voters approved the ballot measure by a slim 877 votes in November. The city will build a $1.75 billion, 14-mile monorail line serving Seattle's Western half. Voters bitterly disagreed over whether Seattle needed a monorail, as well as the size of the budget. Even those who supported the monorail fought over the alignment and design of the monorail line.
Now PRR is faced with uniting a divided city to support the project as it moves forward.
"One of our major communications challenges is to really understand the kinds of concerns people had who didn't support the monorail," said Brogan.
"The monorail needs to be a system for all the people."
Brogan said supporters need to encourage as much public participation as possible, as well as make sure all decisions are made in a timely and public manner. This effort will start with a series of community workshops to build support and obtain public input.
As for the skepticism that still exists, Brogan said, "We anticipate it, and welcome it. That's why we're trying to be as transparent as possible.
This project is the result of a populous movement that had to overcome cynicism and skepticism. There's a lot riding on this. It's important that this project is successful, because if the public is going to be asked to vote on public transportation projects in the future, we have to deliver on the monorail's promise."