In Martin’s post yesterday we had a good number of commenters criticizing STB for our continued, and some would say slanted, coverage of the tunnel. I know sometimes it feels like all we, and everyone else, write about is the tunnel. I’m personally tired of reading and writing about the debate.

But the simple fact is that it would be completely irresponsible for a blog that advocates for transit to simply give WSDOT and our elected officials a pass on one of the largest, most controversial and most transit hostile highway project in the state.

Our transportation system is just that, a system, and ignoring the elephant in the room just so we can all sing Kumbaya and feel good about transit won’t further transit in Seattle. It’s extremely frustrating for me personally because this debate is fracturing the pro-transit community but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to write about it.

Commenter Brett summed it up well;

Any time state government makes it blatantly clear that they value automobiles over transit in urban areas and equate cars as the key to growth, it is relevant to this blog. Something as profound as what to do about the AWV, a major piece of transportation infrastructure in Seattle, is hugely relevant to transit in Seattle. I’m surprised more transit supporters aren’t fired up about the DBT and the slap in the face it represents to transit.

69 Replies to “Why We Write About The Tunnel”

  1. There is nothing “transit hostile” about the DBT – a transit component can be added to the DBT just as easily as a transit component can be added to any of the other supposed options.

    To claim that the DBT has no transit component while the other options do is vaporware – none of the options currently have a transit component funded by the State. That is a reflection on how transit is viewed on the State level, and it is a reflection on the inability of the pro-transit community to make a solid case for more transit.

    It’s time for the pro-transit community to put their “big boy pants” on and stop focusing on the DBT — too much time is being spent fighting a road project and too little time is being spent promoting transit.

    Focus on transit if you want more transit.

    1. By it’s very nature the DBT is anti-transit, as there will be no downtown access. How many transit routes currently bypass DT on their way from West Seattle to Ballard? How many will do so in the future?

      Also, considering the Governor VETOED the transit funding part of this package right now there is zero, nadda, zilch, nothing in it for transit period.

      With these two facts in mind, please explain how the DBT could in any way be pro-transit?

      1. The tunnel isn’t being built for transit. I think all parties have been very clear about that.

        Under the DBT plan the surface component would handle transit service to the DT core. This is the same as under McGinn’s preferred option.

      2. Except, lazarus, there is no longer any money in the plan for which to pay for additional transit service. Are you suggesting that running existing buses on the surface approach to the tunnel is a fair and justified benefit to transit in comparison to the multibillion dollar SOV tube?

      3. @Lazarus you didn’t address Matthews point about the Governor vetoing the transit funding.

        You can read the agreement here, where the Governor signed and said she would give the county the taxing authority to add the service.

      4. Adam,

        Show me in that agreement where the State and/or Governor promised to provide state funding for DBT transit. Likewise, show me in that agreement where the County Council promised to impose the tax for funding DBT transit. All I see in that agreement is a vague promise that the County Council “could” impose a 1% county wide tax, but we all know that the County Council would never impose a county wide tax just for Seattle’s benefit. Nor would such a proposition ever pass at the polls.

        That clause was DOA when the agreement was signed and everyone involved knew it. It was just a little CYA bone that the other parties threw Sims while he planned his exit from the local political scene.

        But back to the supposed “veto” by the Governor – there was no such thing. The sad truth of the matter is that when the actual enabling legislation made it to the Governor’s desk it didn’t contain any provision for transit.

        But don’t blame the Governor for that, blame the Seattle delegation and transit supporters who didn’t keep their eye on the ball.

      5. Yeah I agree that Sims and transit advocates dropped the ball but the Governor unfortunate has not been a booster or transit.

    2. Money is finite and the tunnel plan uses up money that could have gone towards transit. The I5/Surface/Transit option would involve much more transit funding than even the paltry sum originally promised with the tunnel. Since there is a 1 billion dollar difference between the tunnel and the surface/transit option that is also 1 billion in potential transit money. Yes, I am aware of the 18th amendment, but have you seen any of the establishment politicians pushing the tunnel even TRY to get the 18th amendment changed? Even SUGGEST that it would be good to do so? Even without the 18th amendment repeal there are ways to swap out 18th amendment funds for non-dedicated funding sources such as the property tax that currently pay for street maintenance which is covered under the 18th amendment.

      1. $2.4 Billion from federal and state gas tax, mostly state. $3 billion is being spent on the tunnel and the southern approaches.

      2. @Martin. I tried to look this up yesterday but couldn’t find it. I know there is something like 700 million to 1 billion in costs that the city needs to cover for the seawall rebuild, utility relocation etc.

      3. But it’s a shell game. Nothing is coming from the DBT because it doesn’t exit; Never has and may never will. It’s doubtful anyone is willing to pay the toll to use the DBT. Let’s try pre-tolling and see how that goes. If it funds the DBT then no problem.

  2. I consider myself “pro-transit” but I’ve never understood the black and white world that many people live in, including it seems this blog in relation to the viaduct-replacement.

    As much as I’d love to live in a city/region that had ample transit options to get from point A to points B-Z, Seattle of today isn’t that city/region. And it’s not likely to be that city in my lifetime.

    While I will continue to vote, support and lobby for transit options, that certainly doesn’t mean I won’t vote for projects, like the viaduct, necessary to bridge the gap b/t the city of today and the city I’d like it to become.

    1. James this blog is made up of multiple writer, some really against the tunnel, some not. I personally don’t like the tunnel but I’m unconvinced that the anti-tunnel referendum will lead to anything better. I find the tactics of both sides extremely off-putting and have not become involved in either because of that.

      At this point I would like to see some specific changes made to the tunnel (dedicating toll revenue to increased transit service, dedicated ROW in downtown, revised toll structure to minimize diversion onto city streets). If those changes were made I would probably call it good and say it should move forward.

      1. I appreciate the response, Adam. It sounds like we share a similar perspective in that the tone of the debate is doing nothing but creating division.

      2. Adam, I’d be interested in your own ideas as to how best to add transit to any Waterfront transportation project, without or with the proposed tunnel.

        The project deserves either streetcar or light rail, or both. Considering the property value and commerce the rebuilt waterfront will create, I don’t consider the restoration of George Benson’s monument conflicting or competitive.

        I also recall that the campaign material against the late west-side monorail constantly featured pictures of LINK trains, suggesting that rejecting one mode meant getting the other. First part happened. Time to deliver the other?

        Questions: is the streetcar line along the Stockholm waterfront back up and running now? And have you been on the Route 12 across the harbor plaza in Oslo? Hard to explain exactly why, but streetcar and light rail seem a lot crowd-friendlier than buses.

        Mark Dublin

    1. Haha sure! To be completely honest we didn’t have anything scheduled and it was the only thing I could think of writing. I think I’ll write a piece later about how I would improve the tunnel.

      1. I look forward to reading it. Living with the tunnel you might otherwise not want is a more interesting topic than for/against.

      2. An improvement would have been the 5th Ave alignment that would have besides immediate benefits have a future beyond a CBD bypass. BTW, It’s not a DT bypass. If it were I might be a bit more sympathetic since it would take pressure off I-405. And why in the hell do you spend billions to bypass the CBD with a project that excludes various categories of freight (no flammable liquids for example) and provides no access to the major industrial area north of DT? Of course my favorite is still a single level viaduct since I believe it does the most to open up the waterfront, provides the best mobility and… surprise!!! is the cheapest to build; perhaps even paying into the state coffers if the development is done right.

  3. Well said. Please keep writing about it and being advocates of a transit filled future:)

  4. “… one of the largest, most controversial and most transit hostile highway project in the state.” Then by that logic, the U-Link tunnel must be car-hostile. But STB never describes it that way.

    1. That was in reference to SR-520 and CRC project. Both have a significant transit component or benefit, the DBT doesn’t have any. It could, but doesn’t.

  5. I would support a tunnel if the govt. and developers could show me that it won’t be a boondoggle like the Big Dig, and had mass-transit inherently designed into it.

    But it doesn’t and no one in the powers that be are willing to admit they screwed up, and on top of that decided to ignore a size-able portion of the electorate.

    So the blog here reporting on all these matters regarding the DBT has been a good thing, otherwise I’d be floundering more than I already am. Thanks to all the writers, I may not always agree with all the POVs, but I do appreciate the time they take to put together the various threads.

    1. “Recognized as the largest, most complex, and technologically challenging highway project in the history of the United States” – Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Boston’s central artery project replaced a six lane highway through downtown, extended I-90, added two major bridges, burrowed under water, above a complex subway system and around the infrastructure of a 400+ year old city. I understand why people love to compare the two but the reality is the projects are not the same.

      1. It’s not the same but that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks. It’s the largest bored tunnel in the world and the southern segment has very poor soil conditions.

      2. And this tunnel will have to burrow under a 100-year old Railroad tunnel, will be built UNDER a 130-year old city (Big Dig followed the corridor of the Central Artery, which was cleared out in the 1950s. The “extension” of I-90 was done with precast and then sunk tunnel sections, so it was pretty straight forward (it still presents a huge safety concern, but thats for another posting).

        The Lenny Zakim/Bill Buckner bridge was also pretty syraight forward, although we shall see how that structure stands up if the stories about the quality and age of the poured concrete are true. Not sure what the second bridge referred to in PK’s post is.

        There are serious parallels, especially for the parts of the Big Dig that involved tunnelling thriugh earth Otherwise I would be using the $35 Billion figure.

      3. Came back to add that except for the Big Dig tunnel from about Haymarket to North Station, the Central Artery had been built on fill, so the Engineers and Sandhogs had a good idea what exactly they would find. Even the bit from Haymarket to North Station had a Subway tunnel built parallel to the route in the 1970s, so a measured sample existed. No one knows what lurks beneath the route of the DBT, except for the aforementioned Great Northern tunnel.

      4. If I drove to Boston from the north and wanted to head over to Cambridge I would do so using a new overpass and the new Leverett Circle connecting bridge, but say I wanted to continue on to Boston instead I’d use the new Zakim bridge which connects to the new tunnel that replaced the elevated central artery. In that tunnel I could use the new north tunnel to the airport, continuing on to a new stretch of I-90, or if I preferred to go south instead of west, then I’d use the new south connecting tunnel from the airport back to I-93. Boston’s Central Artery Project was a major traffic revision, not a straight forward replacement of an elevated highway with a new bridge tacked on the end. A bored tunnel through downtown Seattle is not comparable. Yes Boston’s tunnel was rife with cost overruns but the project was huge and the political culture there is completely different than Seattle’s.

  6. I think writing about the tunnel is a waste of time, and STB shouldn’t bother because:

    The tunnel is not the worst option on the merits. A rebuilt or replaced viaduct is, and we just might get that (or nothing at all) if the tunnel somehow gets scuppered.
    Any legal attempt, or citywide ballot attempt, to kill the tunnel is almost certainly futile.
    The politically tone-deaf approach that McGinn/SCAT/PSN et al are taking is wrecking the working relationship between the Mayor’s and Governer’s offices, and damaging Seattle’s standing with the county, the state and the port. This damage is no less real for being diffuse and intangible.
    Covering this controversy only fuels and prolongs it, and with it the ongoing political damage.
    The quality of debate on this subject on every internet forum where I’ve made the mistake of reading it or contributing to it is so abysmally low that it would almost be better if it never took place.
    Many of the arguments advanced publicly by representatives of both sides (including on STB) are also incoherent or irrelevant.

    That said, I don’t sit around bitching about it, I just stopped reading tunnel-related posts, and I plan to resume my non-reading of this post just as soon as I’m done typing this.

    1. Given her 33%-and-dropping approval rating, Gregoire is the one damaging working relations.

      The WEA, FUSE and SEIU are all staking out no-confidence positions against her. Her inability to work with the Mayor is probably symptomatic of her poor leadership skills.

      1. I think it’s safe to also say that McGinn is unable to work with governor. And I don’t think Gregoire began the deterioration of that relationship.

      2. Remember that Gregoire vetoed the transit portion of the tunnel plan before McGinn was even a candidate for mayor.

      3. I think it’s safe to say that the two not working well with each other has been a team effort.

  7. one of the largest, most controversial and most transit hostile highway project in the state

    I was not aware that buses can’t run inside the DBT.

    1. The tunnel essentially bypasses the heart of the city, whereas most bus routes are actually aimed at bringing people to and from the city, not bypassing it. So you can sure run busses through the tunnel, but it isn’t going to help move people around to where they already need to go. It’s in that sense that it’s not very transit friendly.

      As an aside, it’s also in that same sense that the tunnel ‘induces demand’ because it helps create a situation where it becomes feasible to live on one side of the city and work on the other. It seems like quite a silly thing for my tax dollars to be subsidizing.

      1. Eh you know buses and Link and Sounder and ferries and bridges etc all make that sort of thing more workable as well.

        I support high quality transit, including the kind that makes it easy and convenient to get to places that are outside of my immediate neighborhood.

      2. While the majority of routes do terminate downtown, that’s not necessarily where people “want to to”. Today, I rode from Federal Way to View Ridge via downtown, simply because the only way to get there was to transfer downtown.

        Further, we have routes such as 133 and 197 that do indeed bypass downtown. It is unlikely that route 197 will “shift” over to route 99 once the Viaduct replacement is complete, but route 133 could benefit from having an “express road” through downtown and not having to deal with the mess that surrounds the convention center.
        Both of these routes are “duplicates” of combinations of other routes that already exist. Regardless, they are performing well enough that Metro has not (publicly) announced their termination. There may also be other routes that do this–I just can’t think of any others off the top of my head.

        But there are plenty of places where I “already need to go” that have nothing to do with Downtown.

      3. @Tim – You’re setting up a straw man argument here because I’m not claiming nobody needs to bypass the city. I certainly concede that there are plenty of cases where that is currently true. On the other hand, I suspect you would concede that most transit trips in the region either end or begin in downtown Seattle, right? So, you can certainly understand the sentiment that spending billions of dollars on a project to give us the world’s best road system feels a bit hostile to transit when we have only a mediocre (alt-road) transit system.

        Look, we already have a fantastic road system in the Seattle metro area (just look at a road map, it’s awesome!), what we don’t have a brilliant transit system. I actually don’t dislike the tunnel project itself — it would make a remarkable express connection on that road map enabling a ton of new trips that wouldn’t have been possible. On a technical level, that’s cool. On the other hand, I think it’s also extremely shortsighted view of how we should be structuring our transit priorities for the region. I could name dozens of other projects that should be placed ahead of this — especially for a couple of a billion dollars.

        The reality is that the political capital has been spent and this ship has (mostly) sailed. So given that’s its a technically reasonable project, I am not throwing any effort behind derailing the project just to save a few billion dollars (pocket change, no?). However, I am still willing to waste enough breath in order to make the argument as to why it wasn’t a great idea to begin with.

      4. @ryan — The bus, Link, Sounder, and ferry routes sure don’t seem to be focused on “making it workable” to bypass downtown Seattle to me. They seem to be focused on moving people to and from downtown.

  8. Here’s why we aren’t fired up about the tunnel — we want the tunnel. All of that waterfront traffic underground will completely remake the western, water facing edge of the city, for the benefit of all citizens and visitors.

    Why we’re pissed is we didn’t get a parallel tunnel for light rail, or downtown onramps/exits, and we’re on the hook for overruns. Clearly, we need civic leadership to guide us through this crisis of conscience.

    The ship has sailed on the tunnel, it’s going to happen folks. We can vote 100 times and it wont change a thing. What we can change are the things we didn’t get in the state’s construction plan. WE CAN HAVE THEM!! We have to pay for them ….

    Let’s stop bickering pro vs anti and channel this energy into augmenting the state plan.

    1. You’ve been had, Jack. Alaskan Way is going to be a wide, busy truck arterial, not a scenic boulevard. Sorry.

      1. Brent’s reply is a case in point. You can’t argue out of one side of your mouth that the surface streets downtown and on the waterfront can handle the extra cross-town traffic and then argue out the other side that the tunnel will turn the waterfront into a truck lane. That’s inane.

        Similarly, Ben argued in an earlier post that downtown congestion would deincentivize cross-town commuting, while saying that the tunnel would cause congestion on the West Seattle bridge, which would somehow not deincentivize driving. Yes, there’s also the transit component, but those improvements seem pretty minor to me; there’s also a transit component to the DBT funding, which Martin (I think) dismissed as saying would not materialize. When I asked how we knew that, I got crickets.

      2. Regarding the transit funding:

        January 13, 2009: Governor Gregoire signs Letter of Agreement stating that she will support efforts to obtain state legislative authority for King County to implement a 1% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax” to pay for increased transit service.

        February 2, 2009: Governor Gregoire tells the Legislature not to worry about the MVET because “it doesn’t have anything to do with the tunnel.”

        In case you haven’t been paying attention, Metro has a budget crisis. Without new sources of revenue, Metro won’t even be able maintain current service levels, much less spend $15 million more per year on operating expenses or $190 million on the capital expenses for the Delridge RapidRide line.

        Any transit improvements will have to be financed through local option taxes the Legislature doesn’t even want to give us the authority to levy on ourselves. Meanwhile, the tunnel itself can be paid for out of the pot of money in Olympia labeled “HIGHWAYS ONLY.”

  9. The anti-transit, anti-people state government should be stopped. Its not just the tunnel, its the 520 bridge with NO fixed guide-way component, its the Columbia River Crossing (a 2 state debacle) its King County paying for the rest of the state, its poor enforcement of laws relating to pedestrian safety, its miles of freeway shoved down the throats of the populace…its been a long standing war on common sense, on choices in living, in a way for people to be non-car reliant. The transit holocaust was only the opening salvo in a long standing war.


    That this blog supports reasoned debate that isn’t pure pro automobile is why I read it. Keep up the good work and don’t give in to those who would pave, pave, and pave never considering that there are other ways possible to get from point A to B.

    My personal recommendation — shut down the Viaduct tomorrow morning at 0500. See if more than 5 people actually care at the end of the day.

  10. Thanks for the post Adam. Here’s my perspective:

    I’m frankly pretty tired of the tunnel debate too, and in any case I’m pretty sure the thing will be built. However, I’d like to think that clearing up ignorance is one of our missions here.

    When people make outrageous claims about the tunnel and transit, I think it’s important to correct those misconceptions. When elected officials who have some pro-transit credentials use reasoning that indicates a pretty weak understanding of what makes transit work, that’s important information for voters.

    When serious people make spurious arguments that the tunnel is the best policy choice, from a pro-transit perspective, I feel the need to reject those arguments.

    As for making process complaints about incomplete EISs and whether we’ve voted enough on the project, I leave that to a different kind of tunnel opponent.

  11. I think the STB is hurting itself as a transportation politcal player (if it ever was) by constently focusing on anti-tunnel subjects. Realizing everything written has the author’s slant, i think that much time and credibility has been wasted on replaying the usual anti-dbt retoric, rather than trying to work with the city, state, etc to add more transit into the project and retaining the improvements. After skimming the articles every one talks about all this capital money, but no one seems to be able to come up with operating funds for transit related to the project. The current plan may not be perfect, but something needs to happen before catastrophie hits.

    1. I think it is easier to talk about capital expenses because the state has already set aside some of that money. Not so with operating funds. There just isn’t any money.

      I wish there was more money but I just don’t see it happening unless toll revenue and additional taxing authority are given to the county or city by the state.

    2. If you’re worried about catastrophe then clearly you should support the Surface-transit option which takes the viaduct down soonest and not the tunnel which leaves it up the longest.

  12. Will somebody prove to me that either the tunnel or the viaduct is truly needed?

    I’ll wait here. TIA!

  13. I’m a long-time lurker here since light rail first started running. I think this blog did better as a pro-rail blog than an anti-tunnel blog.

    For what it’s worth, I live in Magnolia, and use the viaduct several times a week to commute to my job in Renton. I’m lucky enough to telecommute 1 or 2 days a week, the best transportation option of all. During the summer, I bike into work (40 miles round trip) once a week, coincidentally, underneath the viaduct.

    I am pro tunnel. It would be nice to have a better alignment to 15th Ave, etc., but to dump all the traffic onto city streets and then to try and bike through that is crazy. And rebuilding the viaduct is even crazier. Thankfully Nickels and his committee for big ugly things video seems to have done the job and we’re getting a DBT. And the james corner field operations presentation at the Aquarium leaves me hopeful that there is some intelligent thought going into the waterfront.

    There aren’t any meaningful transit options for me, nor are there likely to be in the future. That’s fine, I’m still a transit supporter. However, thinking that there’s some sort of magic transit alternative to the whole viaduct debate is nuts…

    1. For me personally that reason I don’t like the tunnel is that transit isn’t even at the table. If there really was meaningful investment in transit I think some people’s hostility would tempered, I probably woun’t be on the fence if that was the case.

      At this point though both sides are so polarized it’s almost impossible to have a discussion between the two positions.

      1. My biggest gripe about the DBT project is the removal of the Central Line streetcar project, which would have been a boon for downtown (and dovetailed very nicely with the First Hill line.) I believe it was partly the fact that all the Mayor-candidates except Nickels (i.e. including McGinn) opposed streetcars that caused that funding to be dropped.

        In what other ways could transit be at the table for the DBT? It’s fundamentally a car and truck bypass. Downtown is our biggest transit destination, our biggest commute destination and our biggest transit hub. The only relevant improvements would seem to be nickle and dime stuff like bus lanes and signal priority, which the city can afford.

      2. It’s been very interesting to watch Dow, Conlin and the tunnel boosters try to position the DBT as a critical piece of transit infrastructure.

        Sure, buses could use it, in theory. But a bus network, like a road network, depends on connectivity, and it’s really hard to imagine a bus service need that the DBT could fill. It’s not as if there’s a whole lot of bus service that zooms thru downtown on the existing Viaduct–if any. Other highways, such as Aurora, I-5, 520–heck, almost any other highway–are far more important parts of the bus network.

        And sure, there would be indirect benefits to bus performance if the DBT performs as promised and reduced downtown congestion. But that’s a big what-if. And even if it were to materialize–and it would truly be a first for a car capacity project to actually result in reduced congestion–that would be a helluva lot of pennies to pay for a few crumbs of transit benefit.

        And then there’s the argument that the tunnel will tie up highway funding that would otherwise contribute to more sprawl-supporting routes. Like the supposed benefits to transit, this is merely a bit of pretty lipstick on the pig. There are other highway needs that would better serve transit in the state, and they’ve been listed in this thread: SR 520, Columbia River Crossing, etc. Let them run with the money.

        You could say, as some here have, that the tunnel isn’t the worst thing in the world, and I’m inclined to agree there. But even if it’s more a ho-hum thing than a really really bad thing, it’s still a multi-billion dollar ho-hum thing. The upside relative to S+T is barely detectable; the downside is huge public cost and another piece of auto infrastructure to encourage more driving.

        Therfore, I’m happy to oppose it. I don’t see anything worse coming to replace it, and I think Seattle can do much, much better.

      3. The main point I try to make about the bored tunnel is that it’s an engineering atrocity. Mercer West & the Alaskan Way redo are likewise abominable. I put it bluntly because hours spent putting detailed, analytical explanations into words have little affect other than polarizing. If transit afficionados and wannabee urbanistas can’t recognize obvious absurd engineering, there is little chance Seattle’s transport systems will ever work like they should. You all ought to be frickin outraged. This is not the time make nice with your highway department honchos and peons. Demand an independent investigation. File charges of fraud and take Wsdot to court. The referendum and initiative would be rigged anyway with misinformation and group-think. The bored tunnel will be disastrous. DISASTROUS!

  14. The viaduct is now an eye sore. The tunnel would open up the waterfront and would be better aesthetically.

  15. The tunnel debate is really pretty much over.

    The difference between the tunnel and the long dead surface option is actually pretty puny in terms of transit.

    The prolonged effort to delay a solution to the Viaduct by the retrofit and surface zealots has done great harm for the future of transit already – more fighting will only do more harm to transit.

    This is because the surface fight is a losing battle and an enormous waste of time and resource,

    We will never get to real solutions and funding for all the transit we ought to be providing until this ends.

    That’s why people genuinely interested in next stage investments in transit oppose additional ballot measures on the tunnel and all the associated blundering gamesmanship blasting from the office of the crazy Seattle mayor.

    1. No the tunnel includes no provision or increased transit service, the surface option includes tones of new transit service. There is a very clear difference.

  16. The endless discussion I’ve seen about the DBT centers around those who are unhappy with “the decision” who want it overturned. Forget it that hundreds of hours were spent by an appointed committee in examining all of the alternatives and how questioning what they came up with makes them feel. I’d much rather the approach be: a decision has been made, I don’t think it’s transit-friendly because and/or I think the decision process was flawed because {offering positive proof} than to continue trying to re-open the decision again. All one has to do is look at what we got from Sound Transit after years of debate to see that this costs us dearly in money and, in the case of Sound Transit, travel time. Transit service: while I’m a rider, only 4% or so of the public is. Now if the advocates were suggesting a 3rd lane in both directions, i.e. a HOV lane, that would be a different matter. The assumption seems to be that after 3 or 4 years of no AWV – from either the surface or the rebuild options – the 110,000 vehicles/day would have found a regular re-route, whether it be I-5 or city streets, or that the resulting tie-ups would move people to using transit that passes through the city, which most of SR-99 users are doing…except that service (pass-through) doesn’t presently exist. Cost: neither of those options factored in the cost of having no AWV or anything usable for 3-4 years, so the cost comparisons weren’t relevant, just as the lifespan of a rebuild being 50 years, the DBT 100, so the rebuild’s cost should have been doubled in addition to factoring in the 3-4 years.

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