January 25, 2007
Viaduct Tunnel Ballot Measure Still Doesn't Meet Gregoire's Stated Conditions

The Seattle City Attorney released the final language for the Viaduct ballot measures. Gregoire rejected Tuesday's language because it neglected to mention costs.

The final wording mentions costs:

The estimated cost [of the tunnel] is $3,410,000,000, to be potentially funded with $2,800,000,000 in state and federal funds, $500,000,000 in city utility funds for utility relocation made necessary by the project and $250,000,000 from a localized tax on specially benefitted landowners. The Governor has said state and federal funds might not be available above $2,800,000,000.
But it still falls short of Mrs. Gregoire's initial conditions, as stated on Dec. 15:
Gregoire said this morning that the upcoming Seattle vote should include ballot language that makes it clear that the city would agree to pay for any cost overruns for a tunnel
The final ballot language does not make clear that the city must pay for overruns.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at January 25, 2007 09:04 AM | Email This
1. You are correct Stefan. The ballot language does not comply with what the governor specified.

Bear in mind that Tom Carr drafted this, and he was the lawyer on the Elevated Transportation Commission board who drafted the SMP ballot measure.

Advisory ballot measures are worse than useless because they give ammo to self-interested proponenets. The SMP fiasco proved that point.

There are two measures, and one or both could "win." That will mean we will be hearing the same kind of loud bleating we had to put up with for years from the groups who wanted to ride the monorail gravy train: "We voted already! Just do it now!"

Posted by: Hardly Fits on January 25, 2007 09:14 AM
2. And, it wouldn't matter if it did say that.

From now on, we must all remember the imprompteur that the state supreme court gave Sound Transit when they allowed them to lie about costs, and lie about the size of the project.

Remember, ST was supposed to be something like 21 miles long for $2.2 billion. (That is what the vote was for, right?)

Instead, the people get 14 miles for $4 billion or so... and the supreme court said that was perfectly OK.

Then, of course, we have the gas tax... a gas tax foolishly supported by many who post here... a gas tax that promised us X amount of projects... and, when we pass this tax, what happens?

The project list magically shrinks by 31%... but the tax remains the same

Gee.... what a surprise.

So, at the end of the day, the language Shark is referring to is meaningless, because our state and local governments may lie to us any way they please... and get away with it.

Posted by: Hinton on January 25, 2007 09:18 AM
3. Does anyone remember the "Big Dig". Huge cost over runs costing MA and US tax payers over 14 Billion bucks. This was for a project to cost 3.5 Billion. See what happens when democrats are put in charge. Absolute and utter waste and fraud. The voters in this state deserve what they get because they keep electing and re-electing thse bozos.

Posted by: Allan Rothlisberg on January 25, 2007 10:14 AM
4. The missing language tells me two things:
1. Nickels knows there will be cost over-runs;
2. He plans on petitioning the state to pickup the costs.

Posted by: Obi-Wan on January 25, 2007 10:21 AM
5. Has anyone seen a current breakdown of specific cost estimates? Do they include extortion payments - sorry - reburial compensation when bones are found?

Posted by: Tyler Durden on January 25, 2007 11:11 AM
6. So, Tyler,

Like me, I see you watched our "nickels work" over at the Narrows Bridge site, eh?

Over a billion nickels vaporized... and no one held accountable.

Ahhhh, government. You get something out of it whether you go there or not.

Posted by: Hinton on January 25, 2007 12:14 PM
7. As I understand it, the new "Nickles Tunnel" would only be 4 lanes. The current viaduct is 6 lanes.

How does this fit with the DOT signs that claim the roadwork is improving traffic?

If this flies, all in the State will be forced to pay.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 25, 2007 01:31 PM
8. With compliments to the original poster (over on the Stranger's site) ---


On page 7, the cost of utilities relocation for the tunnel option is shown as $180 million.

But wait, the new ballot measure has $500 million for "utilities relocation" that City ratepayers would have to cough up.

This is the way Greg Nickels "does" taxpayers when he comes up with ballot measures.

Posted by: Petrovich on January 25, 2007 03:12 PM
9. I read somewhere (sorry can't remember the source) that to make up for the tunnel option taking the current 6 lanes to 4, they would keep 3rd ave restricted for buses only. This is such a retarded plan, as Nickels obviously hasn't been downtown during rush hour, when Stewart street travels at a whopping 30min to go 3 blocks.

We'll have a great open plan for the waterfront but won't be able to see a thing for all the smog from idling traffic.

Posted by: redkittyred on January 25, 2007 10:14 PM
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