Mayor McGinn's Many Green Returns

His anti-car approach has paid off—at least when it comes to spending by his own office.

Seattle's bicycling mayor has so far lived up to his civic image as an anti-combustion, two-wheeling public official. At the least, Mike McGinn has outgreened his predecessor Greg Nickels, cutting down his office's use of city vehicles by a rather stunning 88 percent after taking over the mayoral reins in January, according to newly released motor-pool records. McGinn—often eccentrically pictured in a suit and tie pedaling to meetings or commuting from home—has also jettisoned one of two $50,000 Toyota Highlander SUVs that were used by Nickels. At McGinn's direction, that lease-to-purchase vehicle was sold by the Fleet Services Division on eBay in July for $19,000, with the net proceeds of $16,600 returned to the fleet's capital fund. That helped drop the average monthly lease costs for mayoral vehicles from $1,790 under Nickels in 2009 to $1,220 under McGinn in 2010, a 32 percent reduction. His office staffers use other vehicles—a midsize sedan, a subcompact, and a passenger van—but sparingly in comparison to Nickels. In the first six months those vehicles were driven 345 miles; during Nickels' reign for the same period last year, they were driven 2,399 miles, an 88 percent change. Comparative average monthly fuel consumption dropped from 78 gallons to 50, and mayor's-office parking charges also fell for the six-month period—from $1,020 last year to $850 this year. McGinn has his own bike, which he uses at no charge to taxpayers, says his office. "I don't believe he has ever asked for reimbursement from the city for any of his bike-related expenses," says spokesperson Aaron Pickus. He's not a "car hater," the alternative-transportation guru recently told the P-I, and on weekends, McGinn is more likely to be tooling around in his personal minivan. But in good weather, he commutes to the office on two wheels, says Pickus. "He rides in to work almost every single day, and will ride home as well if his schedule allows. He will also ride to events when possible."

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