In an interesting twist at last night’s study session, the Bellevue City Council supported sending a letter to Sound Transit that would put the C9T tunnel option as the primary preferred alternative. According to the Seattle Times, every councilmember in attendance supported the tunnel. Only Conrad Lee was absent, who, in my last interview with him, said that he backed Wallace’s ‘Vision Line.’ Whether he would have caved with even Wallace giving his support to C9T, it’s unknown.
The bulk of last night’s discussion was mostly about cutting costs and looking for funding sources to pay for the tunnel. From the Seattle Times:
The cuts — worth $104 million to $150 million — included contributing back to the project additional sales-tax and business-tax revenues the city receives as a result of the light-rail project, helping to make city property along the route more affordable and streamlining permitting, Sarkozy said.
Wallace railed against Sound Transit’s “bloated” budget and brought up the condition that Surrey Downs must be protected at the Main Street portal. Yet despite all the discussion about “value” budgeting, we’ve already mentioned that a tunnel connection specific to the B segment (via 112th Ave) is vastly less expensive than one from B7, which the council controversially endorsed just last week. However, if the pro-B7 tunnel support is riding on alternative funding, then there is a rather thin line between support for a cheap tunnel and C14E.
You can re-watch the meeting in its entirety on the BTV website. The more important vote will come next week, when the council is expected to vote on the letter as drafted by city staff.