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Friday, February 16, 2007

Survival of the Fittest

posted by on February 16 at 14:20 PM

This just in from Olympia: The tunnel is dead, long live the surface/transit option.

A number of Democratic Seattle-area legislators issued this joint statement today:
“We oppose an elevated rebuild of the Viaduct. Given that the waterfront tunnel no longer appears to be a viable option, we urge that serious consideration be given to a surface/transit option. We are grateful for all the work that the governor, the City of Seattle and others have put into finding a solution that meets the transportation and economic needs of Seattle and our region. We urge that all parties slow down and pay close attention to the preferences that Seattle voters express in the March 13 election. We would like to take part in forging a solution that will work for everyone.”

The statement was signed by Sens. Ken Jacobsen, Adam Kline, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Ed Murray and Brian Weinstein, and Reps. Joe McDermott, Jim McIntire, Jamie Pedersen and Eric Pettigrew.

RSS icon Comments


Tip O'Neill died many years ago. No Big Dig for you!

Posted by Nip O'Tiell | February 16, 2007 2:25 PM

This is the best time to write to these people and ask for specific transit improvements.

Give them good ideas, and they can become reality.

Posted by golob | February 16, 2007 2:26 PM

Most rational thing I've heard all week, re the Viaduct mess.

The City Council appropriated $500,000 to study the S+T option at such time as the tunnel proves infeasible. Well, that time has come!

And the first thing the City needs to do, when beginning that study, is set aside the assumption that current highway capacity must be accommodated in place, in kind.

It's time for some thinking outside the box. For a change. Please.

Posted by R on Beacon Hill | February 16, 2007 2:32 PM

Very happy news indeed and the first sign of a crack in the new viaduct in what we really need is a convincing "NO" vote outcome on the Rebuild next NO and NO!!!

Posted by GoodGrief | February 16, 2007 2:38 PM

Jamie stepped up on this one. Good man!

Posted by DOUG. | February 16, 2007 2:56 PM

bless their congressional hearts.

Posted by john | February 16, 2007 2:58 PM

Severely cool. I'll be voting yes on the rebuild, but hope we get Surface Plus Transit.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 16, 2007 3:07 PM

Will, discouraging the rebuild through a "no" vote is hands-down the best way to make Surface/Transit more likely. It is not, by the way, a "rebuild" - the word rebuild implies that the resulting structure would be similar to its predecessor. What is being labeled as a rebuild is in fact WSDOT's plan for a new elevated freeway that is taller, twice as wide, and more obtrusive due its thicker columns and road beds, than the current Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Posted by Ryan | February 16, 2007 3:13 PM

Will in Seattle: Severely cool. I'll be voting yes on the rebuild, but hope we get Surface Plus Transit.

BTW, I'll be voting yes to immediately begin raining missiles on Tehran, but hey, wouldn't peace be totally awesome too?

Posted by cressona | February 16, 2007 3:45 PM

It’s nice that they want it explored, but not especially relevant. If the surface/transit option is going to work, a lot of the $2.8 billion for the Viaduct must be moved from road projects to transit.

This is not currently legal, because the 18th Amendment to the Washington State Constitution requires that gas tax revenues be dedicated to road projects. There are ways this could happen, and they involve state legislators doing a lot more than saying they’d like something to be studied. To wit:

1) Amend the 18th Amendment to allow gas tax revenues to be used for transit. This requires a statewide vote. The sympathetic state legislators could propose a joint resolution to amend the state constitution in a vote in say, November, which would allow adequate time for studying it.

2) revise the enabling legislation for the regional ballot measure (RTID) to allow some of the money (a billion or so?) to pay for the transit portion of surface/transit, and use the already allocated gas tax money to backfill other road projects. This is complicated, and would absolutely require state legislative action.

Unfortunately, Nickels & Co. have made this 2nd option a lot more difficult by having the RTID Board move $800 million from the Viaduct to other projects. They could’ve moved the money to “transit” for the surface/transit option. $800 million for transit down the toilet! Thanks guys.

These are the things state legislators can do for a surface/transit option. Anything short of this is unlikely to amount to much beyond moral support, which is useless. Only they can take the action that provides for realistic funding scenarios.

Posted by Biff | February 16, 2007 3:50 PM

Will in Seattle ----> Go to your room and get off the computer!!

Posted by Uggh! | February 16, 2007 3:56 PM

Very soon WSDOT will discover that the Viaduct can indeed be Repaired for a several hundred million dollars.

Posted by David Sucher | February 16, 2007 4:01 PM

Thank Dog!

In Jacobsen, we finally have a politician courageous enough to support BOTH canine beer rights and the surface transit option.

I can't wait until a pooch with too much happy-hour Pabst ralphs all over me when taking the bus, I mean "transit system" home from work.

Posted by Woof! | February 16, 2007 4:28 PM

Well the pro tunnel legislators have bailed from the tunnel, anti-monorail Ken Jacobsen (we can't afford $2B for a monorail but Billions more for a tunnel, no problem) leading the list - missing are the key people Chopp and Sommers and 45 other reps they would need.

"We urge that they slow down" hey I thought this was an emergency - danger WMDs I mean the viaduct is falling - so slow down? - could that be repair and prepare in other words? I think so.

Posted by Peter Sherwin | February 16, 2007 5:05 PM

It's all about the greenbacks.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 18, 2007 12:03 PM

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Posted by ilfotjw chfqyiugm | March 2, 2007 12:23 AM

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