City Also Re: Tunnel Tax
First of all, it’s just a tax on property owners. Business owners who lease (the same ones who’ll almost certainly go out of business while the waterfront is torn up for nearly a decade) get no say. Josh is right: They should be getting assistance from the city, just like business owners along the light rail line, which is tearing up the Rainier Valley for a much shorter period of time.
Second, when will this $250 million materialize? Not during construction: Property values are expected to plummet while the waterfront is inaccessible, and the city’s own viaduct planning documents indicate the city expects many businesses to relocate permanently or shut down. Moreover, the LID along the South Lake Union streetcar route is only expected to raise $25 million—Nickels’s tunnel tax implausibly envisions revenues ten times as high.
The bottom line is, Nickels and his fellow tunnel zealots don’t have the money to build the $4-billion-plus Alaskan Way tunnel. Currently, they’re $2 billion short—and that’s before the inevitable cost overruns. This plan, even if it works (and there are good reasons to think it won’t) won’t get them there.