Politics Tunnel Tax
The mayor wants some of the folks who’ll benefit most from his tunnel to help pay for it.
Downtown landowners could see their property values jump by a collective $400 million to $600 million if the Alaskan Way Viaduct is replaced with a tunnel that opens up the waterfront, according to a new study commissioned by the city of Seattle.
Mayor Greg Nickels is considering asking property owners who would gain the most from better views, reduced noise and vibration, more open space and a nicer waterfront to help pay for a tunnel, which would be a more expensive replacement than a new elevated roadway.
Establishing a local improvement district—the same mechanism that was used to help finance the South Lake Union streetcar—could yield as much as $250 million, said Michael Mann, deputy director of the city’s Office of Policy and Management.
Even with that extra $250 million, Nickels’ tunnel is still a billion or two short.