Remember when legislators approved a plan to pay for a tunnel under downtown Seattle with an amendment pinning all cost overruns on Seattle voters? Remember when local politicos said that amendment was "symbolic" and not "worth holding things up"?
Somebody didn't get the memo. State Senator Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup), a member of the senate's Transportation Committee, was a guest on The Dave Ross Show yesterday, and he elaborated on how he intends to make Seattle pay for any cost overruns. Seattlepi.com has the transcript:
Ross: "OK, when you hear Joe Mallahan say, don't worry about this provision, it doesn't have the force of law, what's your reaction to that?"
Kastama: "I'll tell ya, he's got to make it through the Legislature for any additional funding to make up any difference. If there is a cost overrun, the Legislature is going to have to vote on that because we vote on the budget. (The Department of Transportation) ... cannot decide that, all of the sudden, they are going to take money out of another county, or even in King County, and put it into [the tunnel project]."
Ross: "What you're telling me, because this would be breaking news...if that tunnel has a cost overrun...you will target Seattle projects?"
Kastama: "No, what I will do is this, is I will insist that Seattle comes up with a method to actually pay for it. As for the legality of that, I'm not willing to rule on that."
Ross: "You clearly feel that you want to figure out some way for Seattle to shoulder the burden of cost overruns."
If a state Senator is willing to hold up the transportation budget for the whole state, I'd say he's serious about making Seattle pay for tunnel cost overruns. Regardless of its legality, if leaders in Olympia want to make it happen, they will.
After all, I-695 was unconstitutional, right?