I was all set to write an editorial slamming the tunnel overruns provision, but this morning the Times reports that it’s likely to be unenforceable.  That explains Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis’s relative indifference to it, since coming out strongly opposed would delay things even further.

Read the article for the rest of the legislative gossip; it’s worth it, and Jim Brunner’s reporting deserves the page hits in this case.

10 Replies to “Times: Tunnel Overruns “may be toothless””

  1. It does seem like it’s not constitutional. I do wonder about this:

    Asked whether that language would actually have any legal force, House Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who sponsored the amendment at House Speaker Frank Chopp behest, said Thursday “I have my doubts.”

    Where’s your district, Frank?

  2. I don’t like that Times article, Martin…

    It sounds like the amendment squeaked through because it doesn’t specifically pass the cost overruns off to anyone. Otherwise, it might have been blocked.

    On the other hand, if it sticks, it gives cover for the Legislature to not pony up funding in the future. All they have to do is point at this agreement that everyone supported.

    Chopp’s not stupid. He sat on his crazy Viaduct replacement idea for at least a year before releasing it to the public. He wouldn’t have pressured folks to pass this amendment unless he had plans to do something with it down the road.

      1. Well, he is thinking about that. I suspect he wants money for what his folks want the 520 project to look like….

  3. What do they say about Washington politics? Something like, “It is Eastern Washington against Western Washington, and everyone against Seattle”? I suspect that there are a few state legislators who found it easier to vote for the bill with the amendment attached because they could claim that they were sticking it to Seattle, but that doesn’t explain why Chopp sponsored it.

    It’s no wonder that the citizens become so cynical when our legislators continue to play games like this and are continuously looking for cover. In any case, whatever the reason behind this crazy amendment, what a screwed up way to run a state.

    Hopefully the amendment will be dropped when they reconcile the Senate and House versions of the bill.

  4. there are really not cost over runs yet. WSDOT does not have a real cost estimate today. what is the level of design, one percent? the portals have not been designed. The bill requires them to report back at the end of 2009 with a firmer estimate. they are just doing the soil samples now. this will be the first single bore 54-foot tunnel. but the law suggests a state contribution of $2.4 billion plus $.4 billion in potential toll revenues for a total of $2.8 billion. the target of Seattle “area” property owners is quite vague. would it be the metropolitan statistical area, the county, the city, or downtown? who benefits from the deep bore: downtown property owners who have the waterfront opened up or drivers able to bypass downtown in a fast highway, many of whom are from outside Seattle? 2.8 billion is a big number; will it be big enough? and, Seattle is on the hook for one bilion more.

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