City Surface/Transit: Not the Most Expensive for Seattle
posted by February 19 at 11:12 AMon
So Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10) says that if Seattle prefers the surface/transit option to a larger new viaduct on our waterfront, she’s going to yank our funding. From today’s Times:
If the viaduct is torn down and replaced with surface streets and transit, the state might contribute just over $1 billion for construction work, said Senate Transportation Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island.
That’s less than half of what the state has pledged for replacing the viaduct with another elevated highway, and could leave the city on the hook for nearly $1 billion to complete a surface-street project, based on some projections.
First, what a mean-spirited and petty move: putting Seattle on the hook if we decide we don’t want a bigger, noisier, uglier viaduct on our waterfront. Second, how credulous of the Times: “Based on some projections”? What projections might those be? Neither the city nor the state department of transportation has studied the surface/transit option; the most commonly cited estimate, formulated by the People’s Waterfront Coalition, puts the surface/transit option at $1.2 billion. Even if the surface/transit is significantly more expensive, $1 billion, plus $220 million in pledged federal dollars, funding from a planned local improvement district, and city utility relocation funding should be more than enough to pay for it. And considering that rebuild supporters like Haugen claim tearing down the viaduct and rebuilding it to modern earthquake standards would cost just $2.8 billion, I’m pretty skeptical at their $2 billion projection for surface/transit.