Seattle Mayor Still Questions Tunnel

Dec 14, 2010

The Seattle Mayor is continuing to question plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.  This follows last week’s announcement from the state that the contractor could finish the project under budget and ahead of schedule. 

Mayor Mike McGinn  said he questions whether the project will really be under budget given the need to pay for such things as additional transit and street improvements to deal with extra surface traffic while the tunnel is being built.  McGinn spoke with reporters at a roundtable discussion at Seattle City Hall.

He also gave verbal support to two citizen initiatives that would prevent the city from paying for cost overruns.

"One of the problems with this project is it was a back room deal, citizens didn't have a chance to be heard," he said.

When asked if he'd sign the initiatives, he said he would but "couldn't sign 20,000 times" so he's encouraging others to do so.

The Seattle City Council has already approved a non-binding agreement with the state to proceed with the tunnel. The tunnel and related work is expected to cost $4.2 billion.