Two Seattle City Council candidates are proposing that the city pay for its own light-rail system.

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Two Seattle City Council candidates are proposing that the city pay for its own light-rail system.

John Roderick and Alon Bassok say the Seattle-only system would connect the city’s neighborhoods to each other and complement the regional light-rail system that Sound Transit began building more than a decade ago.

Their three-page plan released Wednesday doesn’t say exactly how much a neighborhood-rail plan would cost. It says that property owners would foot the bill for the system’s construction by way of a 30-year property-tax bond like the one currently being used to finance a replacement seawall along Seattle’s historic downtown waterfront.

The plan says homeowners might  be asked to pay less than $200 annually and suggests that a 75- to 100-mile system would cost $1 billion. Sound Transit’s Central Link light-rail line, which runs between downtown Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, cost $2.6 billion and is about 16 miles long. It opened in 2009.

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Roderick, lead singer and guitarist for the indie-rock band The Long Winters, is running for Position 8 against current Council President Tim Burgess and others. Bassok, an urban planner who works at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, is seeking Position 9, formerly held by Sally Clark.

Positions 8 and 9 will remain citywide seats as the council’s seven other positions move to voting by geographic district this year.

Roderick and Bassok say operating costs for the neighborhood-rail system “would be supported by a tax on successful businesses, similar to the head tax passed by Seattle voters in 2006 and repealed by the Seattle City Council in 2009.”

Sound Transit is on schedule to connect the Central Link line with new light-rail stations on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington next year. The University District, Roosevelt and Northgate are slated have stations open along the same north-south line in 2021.

The two candidates say the new system would be separated from vehicular traffic, like Sound Transit’s trains and unlike the new streetcar line set to open soon between Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square, through First Hill and the International District. They don’t say where precisely their system would have stations.

“Seattle has waited far too long to have a world-class transit system … Sound Transit is doing a bang-up job of building a regional rail system, but Seattle needs a system that can serve our neighborhoods now,” Roderick and Bassok say in their plan.

Mayor Ed Murray recently proposed a new $930 million property-tax levy to pay for various transportation improvements.

Roderick and Bassok are among 47 people who will appear on the Aug. 4 primary ballot in competition for the council’s nine seats.