Monday, July 26, 2010

Seattle City Council Splits the Tunnel "baby", McGinn Cries over failure to stop project

The Seattle City Council has been struggling to both keep the Alaska Way Viaduct replacement project moving, and deny responsibility for the state's portion of the project, the tunnel.

In an effort to delay an possibly kill the project, Mayor Mike McGinn attempted to force a public vote when the council passed an ordinance allowing the project to move ahead.

The council was trapped by having to do two things at once, keep the project moving, and deny responsibility for tunnel cost overruns. The state legislature is not in session to resolve the cost overrun language.

Today the Seattle City Council stated that they would not issue an ordinance, but a council resolution stating that it both supports the technical aspects of the tunnel and project, but reserved the right to revue the the vendor bids before proceeding.

A Seattle City Council plan to delay signing Highway 99 tunnel agreements with the state is a change of course that would allow the state to seek bids for the project without worrying about two threats: a mayoral veto or a public vote.

Council says it will postpone signing tunnel agreement for months, Seattle Times Newspaper

The council has effectively kept the project going and dumped the cost overrun issue back in the state legislature's lap.

The tunnel does not have majority support, neither does any viaduct replacement option. What has become the least popular option is the cost overrun language.
Today the Seattle City Council, City Attorney the Washington State Governor and Attorney General, all came out against the state legislature's cost overrun language.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has claimed that he is intent on denying the city be responsible for cost overruns. So, what was his reaction?
Mayor's Statement

"It appears that Council is doing everything possible to prevent a public vote. Yet they still have not dealt with the underlying issue - who will pay for overruns given the $2.4 billion cap in state law. Until the state law is changed, Seattle remains at risk of paying cost overruns."
Office of the Mayor

The tables have turned on the mayor, but his adoring fans will not allow him to let go.


Peter said...

Someone said on SC that he bets some local politicians have buyers remorse over their poor handling of the issue and the team leaving. Why do you think they handled it so poorly? If we would have gotten an PFD formed 5 years ago would it have been any easier to save the team?

Peter said...

I know all this talk about lewike bringing an NHL team to seattle is probably pie in the sky, but how likely is it that when one of these arena plans is annouced the NHL will be the lead of the discussion? It is smart imo because there still is alot of ill will towards the NBA here and people have no reason to be sour on the NHL. Getting an NHL quality arena will almost certainly bring in the NBA if for no other reason than paying for the building either with private money or getting enough user fees. I just wish if the people brock and detlef were talking about or nicastro are serious, then they will come forward soon. Waiting is the hardest part. I know they are probably doing a whole lot, but why do you think neither brock or detlef would discuss details? Even nicastro was tight lipped about who her "cohorts" are.

Peter said...

I think i seen somewhere that you said user fees would generate b&o tax revenue for the state. Is this correct, and how would this work?

Mr Baker said...

Two different things. User fees are ticket taxes, parking taxes, arena event fees.
Business & Occupation taxes are taxes against the business performed, the team has a value and generates revenue, that is subject to tax by the state and by a city.

A city that wanted to play host to an arena could justify spending a few million dollars on road improvements because they could charge a B & O tax to cover the cost.

Peter said...

How much stock do you put in what gary payton has been saying? He`s said in quite a few interviews that he`s been working on an arena. I think he put the target date for the arena at 2012 in a interview a while back. It just seems when you have gp, nicastro, brock and salk, and detlef talking about the existance of things going on behind the scenes, something big must be happening. We`ve heard about behind the scenes efforts from the city and state before, but I`ll trust those sources over the city and state any day.

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