Via the Seattle Times.

The Seattle City Council intends to postpone signing three tunnel agreements with the state until January or February, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw just announced. The council will vote next week on a resolution instead, showing its commitment to the tunnel and saying the city isn’t responsible for cost overruns.

A more complete rundown over at Publicola.

19 Replies to “MOA Postponed Till Next Year”

  1. The more this 99 drama goes on, the more I’m really hoping it all blows up and we don’t build new structure to replace the alignment; especially after the EIS came out. *shudder*

    1. That’s the end result of the current politics. If not tunnel, then rebuild. Building a six-lane highway on the waterfront — which is blindly obviously a bad, bad choice — has no chance in the legislature.

  2. The biggest reason for cost overruns is going to be delaying it more and more. So, that’s the not-so-secret plot from the anti-tunnel people, isn’t it?

    1. “The biggest reason for cost overruns is going to be delaying it more and more.”

      I’m sure that people were saying that in 2008, before the recession. Didn’t turn out to be true then. How can this delay by the city council cause costs to increase? The project is already out to bid, this move by the city council will have no effect on the bidding process. Having only 2 bidders might though. There’s also the little problem of the EIS process not being finished.

    2. Not true. The biggest way to get cost overruns is to not understand and manage your risk.

    3. The tunnel boosters are also still playing the “safety” card: publicly saying we need to build the tunnel as a matter of public safety, and then anonymously saying the deaths will be on the environmentalists if people die in an earthquake in the next three years.

      So, please indulge this little poll: Will those environmentalists calling for the viaduct to stay open beyond 2012 (when the governor said the viaduct would be coming down) please chime in?

      1. People that oppose the tunnel oppose it because they think that the tunnel isn’t necessary to meet the mobility needs of the region, so by default they think the viaduct should be closed as soon as it’s needs to be to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

      2. I’m not adamantly opposed to this tunnel. If it were directed to Western, with the top floor for freight only and the bottom for HSR or West Link and possibly some buses, it would do wonders for regional mobility.

        It’s too bad the city council won’t let these ideas be studied.

      3. erm…not sure if that’s sarcasm, but City Council isn’t responsible for the configuration of the DBT. The State’s paying for it, and would never go for anything like what you propose.

  3. As anyone who’s managed even a small project can tell you, the biggest way to get cost overruns is change orders. Change orders come about when you don’t have a clear understanding of what it is you’re after in the first place, so questions continually come up, and when they do, EVERY possible answer is an increase in cost. What you do is get it right beforehand in the planning.

    Anyone think they’re going to do that here?

    Also: the tunnel seems to me to be a bad idea even if it comes in 30% under budget.

  4. Why does Seattle still postpone signing the agreement?
    I am wondering if a earthquake took the viaduct down causing many people’s death, who would be responsible for that? Mayor McMumbles? or the State government? Of course I don’t want such things happen, but it is difficult to say like that. Please, Please, Please, Mayor McMumbles stops playing as a child. Your agreement is related to many and many Seattle people’s lives. Please act now!!!!

    If he doesn’t sign it, I will be shame of him!!!!

    1. You should be begging with the Govenor. She is the one that said it would come down in 2012 no matter what happens. She wants to keep in open till 2015 now.

    2. Erubisu,

      Nobody here is calling for the viaduct to remain open. That’s the governor’s decision. She’s the one putting thousands of lives at risk. But then, most everyone who drives on the viaduct knows the risks, and then takes that risk.

      The governor promised to bring the viaduct down by 2012, but decided instead to let other considerations take priority over safety. The liability will be the state’s.

  5. There is no delay…

    The Final EIS won’t be out until next June. WSDOT can’t legally sign a contract until then.

    Meanwhile, work on the southern part of AWV project is already underway right now.

    Whether the City signs an agreement now, or in November, or in January is really irrelevant to the grand scheme of things.

    1. The Final EIS won’t be out until next June. WSDOT can’t legally sign a contract until then.

      That’s not true.

      1. Sorry for not clarifying — the not signing contracts until the FEIS thing. You can sign them sooner.

  6. Council Member Rasmussen took the opportunity during this committee meeting to focus on the governor’s veto of transit funding options. That she essentially vetoed the portion of the tunnel agreement calling for the county to invest $190 million in transit infrastructure in downtown Seattle, and that none of the parties batted an eye, seems like a major oversight. The city is certainly within its right to consider the agreement null and void.

    Secretary Hammond, in answer to a question from Council Member Licata, stated that gas tax revenue can only be used for highway purposes. If only it were that simple … all we would have to do is get Sounder, Link, and the future bullet train line to be numbered as state highways.

    Council Member Bagshaw read off an email from the mayor verbatim, “Who will pay the cost overruns?” While she was trying to take a cheap shot at the mayor, I think it backfired. With the Opinion from Attorney General McKenna, we have a pretty definitive answer to that question: We don’t know.

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