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.