Committee on Modernization of Electric Transportation (COMET) records, 1935-1983  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Committee on Modernization of Electric Transportation
Title
Committee on Modernization of Electric Transportation (COMET) records
Dates
1935-1983 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Collection Number
5179 (Accession No. 5179-001)
Summary
Records of a Seattle committee that advocated the reinstatement of electric trolley service and the reduction of air pollution caused by diesel buses.
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

COMET, Committee on Modernization of Electric Transportation, originated from the efforts of two previous committees: the Engineers' Task Force for Transit Evaluation of the Washington Society of Professional Engineers, Seattle Chapter, and the Sub-committee for Utilities of the Seattle Municipal League. COMET was incorporated on Jan. 15, 1963. Its members included engineer and community activist Charles K. Ittner, who belonged to both earlier committees and served as president of COMET.

In the early 1960s, Seattle had a thriving electric trolley transit system operated by the city's Transit Commission, a body composed of five members serving for six year-terms. In 1962 the Transit Commission announced its intention to purchase 100 diesel buses, ostensibly to serve the expanded service area to the north. When the transit system began removing both overhead lines and trolleys from service, the public objected, prompting a charter amendment vote set for Mar. 1964 to determine if diesel buses should be allowed to replace the trackless trolleys. COMET's role was to campaign for a restoration of the trolley routes. The original concern was based purely upon economics; although slightly more expensive to operate than diesel buses, trolleys are much cheaper to maintain. Based on the engineering expertise of its members, COMET predicted that Seattle Transit would change from a profitable endeavor to a money-loser with the switch to diesel buses. After the charter amendment failed, the group's focus expanded to include concerns about air pollution due to diesel exhaust.

COMET's predictions had proved correct; by 1970, Seattle Transit had lost so much money that it was threatened with bankruptcy. The citizens were asked to vote upon a bond issue proposal, known as Forward Thrust: METRO, to provide $440 million to fund an enlarged bus system until a rail network could be assembled. This proposal was known as Forward Thrust. When this measure failed, COMET distributed petitions for a charter amendment to transfer the transit system to Seattle City Light for re-electrification. The Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (METRO) counter-proposed by urging that the Seattle Transit System be incorporated into a Metropolitan Transit Plan that would operate throughout the county. In an election held Sept. 19, 1972, the METRO measure passed.

Although the COMET ballot measure failed, the organization kept the issue of electric trolleys in the public eye and worked with environmentalists to pressure METRO to re-establish trolley routes. On Sept. 14, 1979, a rehabilitated electric trolley coach system was inaugurated. In a dedication speech, Seattle City Council member George E. Benson honored Ittner and the other members of COMET for achieving this goal.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The records, which appear to have been created or collected by COMET president Charles K. Ittner, include correspondence, reports, newsletters, minutes, photographs, ephemera and related material documenting the activities of COMET. Subgroups include Engineers' Task Force for Transit Evaluation, and Washington Society of Professional Engineers, Seattle Chapter, whose original efforts concerning public transportation led to the creation of COMET. The subgroup Citizens for Clean Air contains records concerning air pollution caused by diesel buses. The Charles K. Ittner subgroup contains personal papers.

The subject series consist of data files collected by Ittner to support COMET's public initiative campaigns. The photographs depict electric trolleys, diesel buses, and the bus repair garage of Seattle Transit. Major correspondents include engineer Elmer E. Van Ness, and members of the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Organizational RecordsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Incoming Letters
1964, 1967-1977
1/2-4
Outgoing Letters
1967-1983
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
1/5
MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless
1972
1/6
Morris, Arval A.
1970
Subject Series
Air Pollution
Box/Folder
1/7
Air Quality Coalition, newsletter
1971
1/8
"The Clean Air Look" Information & Planning Kit
1967
1/9
Environmental Protection Agency
1971
1/10
General Motors Papers
1963-1971
1/11
Information re: Diesel Engines Underground
1947-1966
1/12
Newsletters, Brochures
1/13
Oxides of Nitrogen-Breysse Report
1967, 1970-1972
1/14
Ruth Company: Ruth Diesel Locomotive
1945, 1962, 1964
1/15
Sax, Carbon-Monoxide, Dangerous Materials
1968
1/16
Seminar-Air Pollution Control in the Seventies
1971
1/17
Standards, Information
1969-1972
Box/Folder
1/18
Anti-Metropolitan Municipal Corporation
1959, 1962
1/19
Clean Air for Washington, Inc.
1969
1/20
Flyer Industries
1971
1/21
Forward Thrust Campaign
1970
1/22
Friends of the Pike Place Market
1971
Legislature, Washington
Box/Folder
1/23
Rosters
1971
1/24
Lobbyist Concerns
Oct. 19, 1971
METRO
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
1/25
Miscellaneous
1970-1972
1/26
Background Information re: Trolley Expansion
1965-1972
1/27
Re: Rehabilitation of the Trolley Bus D.C. Distribution System
1975
1/28
Re: Revised Bus Acquisition Memorandum
1976
1/29
Re: Trailer Inquiry
1975
Box/Folder
1/30
Agenda for Public Meetings
1971-1972
1/31
Meeting Minutes
1972
1/32
Hearings for Urban Mass Transportation
Grant Application
1972
1/33
Metro Monitor, newsletter
1965, 1972
1/34
Policy Survey-PSGC Metro
1/35
Report
1968-1970
Speeches and Writings
Box/Folder
1/36
Comments to Transit Committee
1972
Subject Series
Box/Folder
1/37
Legal Matters: Fees Paid for Representation Correspondence
1972
1/38
Statutes re: Establishment of Metropolitan Municipal Corporations
Box/Folder
1/39-40
Ephemera
Municipal League of Seattle and King County
Box/Folder
1/41
List of Candidates for Primary Election, Seattle
1971
1/42
Municipal News, newsletter
1965
1/43
Petitions re: Diesel Bus Exhaust
1965
1/44
Resolutions
1964-1965
Box/Folder
1/45
Sub-Subgroup: City Utilities & Services and Taxation & Revenue Committees
1964-1965
North American Trackless Trolley Association
Box/Folder
1/46
General Correspondence
1971-1972
1/47
Newsletters: Trolley Coach News, Trolleybus Talk
1971, 1972
Speeches and Writings
Box/Folder
1/48
Electric Trolley-Motor Coach Analysis Summary Report for Seattle Transit Commission
Hennes, R.GFirey, J.CGray, V.O (author)
1971
Bulletins
Box/Folder
1/49
Electric Trolley-Motor Coach Analysis
Hennes, R.GFirey, J.CGray, V.O (author)
1971
1/50
The Seattle Story: Part 2
Porter, Harry R (author)
1970
1/51
The Seattle Story: Part 3
Porter, Harry R (author)
1972
1/52
Transit Modernization Fact Book
1963
Box/Folder
1/53
Ephemera
Puget Sound Electric League
Box/Folder
1/54
Resolution to Stop Destruction of Seattle Transit's Electrical System
1964
Box/Folder
1/55
Puget Sound Governmental Conference
1965, 1971-1972
Seattle. City
Box/Folder
1/56
Agenda-Finance Committee
1972
1/57
Blue Streak Rapid Transit Grant, Seattle Transit Commission
1967, 1971
1/58
Charter of the City of Seattle
1969
1/59
Legislation
1971
Speeches and Writings
Box/Folder
1/60
Mayor's Annual Message to the City Council
Braman, J.D (author)
1968
Box/Folder
1/61
Seattle City Light Pamphlet Mailing
1972
1/62
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
1971
1/63
Transit Patrons Association
1970
1/64
United States Senate, Antitrust & Monopoly, GM/Diesel
1972
Washington. State Legislature
Box/Folder
1/65
Joint Board of Legislative Ethics
1971
1/66
Joint Committee on Highways: Findings of Mass Transit Subcommittee
1969
1/67
Legislative Newsletters
1971
Reports
Box/Folder
1/68
Acoustical Comparison Measurements of Noise Pollution
1970
1/69
Charter Amendment Article XXIV and The Truth About Transit
1964
1/70
Cost Estimates of Re-Electrifying Seattle Transit System
1971
1/71
Fuel Cost Comparisons of Electric Vs. Diesel Coaches
1935-1970
1/72
The Rapid Transit Plan for the Metropolitan Seattle Area
1970
1/73
Seattle City Light Annual Report
1971
1/74
Seattle Transit/METRO Lobbying Expenses
1971
Initiatives
Box/Folder
2/1
Fair Campaign Practices Report
1972
2/2
Petition Mailing Lists
1971
2/3
Petition Signature Seekers' Requests
1970
2/4
Question re: Legal Validity of Petition
1970-1972
2/5-6
Petitions
2/7
Radio and Television Advertisements
1972
2/8
UNITE & CARHT
1970, 1972
Box/Folder
2/9
Legislation
1971
Newsletters
Box/Folder
2/10
COMET Comments
1963
2/11
40th Street Environmental Works Newsletter
1970
News Releases
Box/Folder
2/12
Miscellaneous
1970-1972
2/13
KOMO and Frederic L. Salinger
1972
Financial Records
Box/Folder
2/14
Charitable Solicitation Permits
1971-1972
2/15
Expenses-Paid Bills
1964-1972
2/16
Lobbyist Statement of Contributions and Expenditures
1971
2/17
Seattle Transit System Record of Operations
1940-1968
Box/Folder
2/18
Notes
Speeches and Writings
Box/Folder
2/19
City Council re: Rehabilitated Electric Trolley Coach System
Benson, George E (author)
1979
2/20
Remarks by R.J. Polani, Chairman, CIAT, to Tri-Met Board of Directors, Portland Metro Area
1976
2/21
Diesel Exhaust and Toxic Air Pollution in Seattle
Van Ness, E.E (author)
1964
Box/Folder
2/22
Photographs
2/23
Ephemera
2/24-30
Clippings
1962-1980

Citizens for Clean AirReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/31
Bylaws
1966-1967
2/32
Outgoing Letters
1967
2/33
Newsletters
1967-1968
2/34
News Releases
1967-1968
2/35
Reports: The Federal Air Pollution Program
1966
2/36
Ephemera
2/37
Clippings
1965-1967

Engineers' Task Force for Transit EvaluationReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/38
General Correspondence
1964-1967, 1979
2/39
Membership Rosters
Reports
Box/Folder
2/40
Air Pollution
1965
2/41
Seattle Transit System
1964
Box/Folder
2/42
Photographs
2/43
Ephemera

Washington Society of Professional Engineers. Seattle ChapterReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/44
Incoming Letters
1965-1972
Outgoing Letters
Box/Folder
2/45
Miscellaneous
1966-1967, 1972
2/46
Re: Grand Jury Investigation
1966, 1971
Box/Folder
2/47
Meeting Notices, Agenda
1966-1967, 1971-1972
2/48
Minutes: State Society
1966-1967, 1971
2/49
Legal Documents: Washington Society of Professional Engineers, et al. vs. The Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle
1975
2/50
Newsletters
1965, 1968-1969
2/51
News Releases
1967
Reports
Box/Folder
2/52
Paper No. CA-165, Civic Affairs Committee
1966
2/53
Paper No. CA-169, Seattle Transit System 29-Year Summary of Operations, statistics
2/54
Paper No. CA-171, Civic Affairs Committee
1969-1970
2/55
Paper No. CA-172, Civic Affairs Committee
1971-1972
2/56
A Summary of Data on Seattle Transit From Seattle Chapter of WSPE
1971
2/57
A Vehicle System Responsive to Urban Transportation Issues
Navin, Francis P.DAnderson, J. Edward (author)
1971
Box/Folder
2/58
Ephemera

Ittner, Charles, Personal PapersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/59
Curriculum Vitae
2/60
General Correspondence
1962, 1964, 1967
2/61
Subject Series: Richmond Beach Water Company
1969-1970

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Air quality management--Washington (State)--Seattle--Citizen participation
  • Citizens' associations--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Local transit--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Local transit--Washington (State)--Seattle--Public opinion
  • Referendum--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Trolley buses--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Urban transportation policy--Washington (State)--Seattle--Citizen participation
  • Personal Names :
  • Ittner, Charles K., 1905-1994
  • Van Ness, Elmer E
  • Corporate Names :
  • Citizens for Clean Air
  • Committee on Modernization of Electric Transportation--Archives
  • Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Wash.)
  • Seattle Transit System
  • Washington Society of Professional Engineers. Seattle Chapter
  • Washington Society of Professional Engineers. Seattle Chapter. Engineers' Task Force for Transit Evaluation
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Clippings
  • Newsletters
  • Photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)