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Mon November 1, 2010
Spooky Seattle and the tunnel of bad romance
Trick or Treat, Seattle Style
Seattle did its part for Halloween, even starting the party two days early. On Friday Governor Chris Gregoire came to town, the first trick or treater of the weekend. Stopping at Mayor Mike McGinn's front door, the Governor was holding a bag a treats she'd collected: two bids for the new waterfront tunnel below cost projections, and a promise the state would pay for any cost overruns.
McGinn's repsonse? "I don't believe we can trust the governor to keep ... promises to protect us," the mayor said. "I don't trust the Legislature, either, to protect us from cost overruns." In other words, 'Boo!'
The Seattle Times reported the mayor asked Gregoire, earlier in the week, to sponsor legislation to back up her promise. Gregoire told him it isn't necessary.
As we reported Friday, Gregoire had this to say about feared overruns: "Let me be clear about my position. If I was to get a piece of legislation that said the citizens of Seattle will bear the costs of any overrun, I will veto it. If I was get a bill that said the state will bear the cost for any overruns, I will sign it," the Governor added.
McGinn was elected to office as a tunnel opponent, though modifying his stand in the days leading up to a close election contest, saying he'd go along with the city council's overwhelming support for it. As mayor, McGinn has questioned - and questioned again - every step of the process, from the draft environmental impact statement, to adequate contingency funds (as reported by Publicola), and now to the Governor's word.
It took years for former mayor Greg Nickels to repair relations with Olympia after sparring with the Governor and Legislature over the tunnel and other transportation issues. By the time he left office, dialog between the state and its biggest city had improved.
McGinn's Halloween surprise is a new low in relations not only with Governor Gregoire, but with legislature. And it may be Seattle's state delegation that is left holding the bag when they seek support for other projects that require the state's backing.
Take a Trip Through the Tunnel of 'Bad Romance'
Friday was a busy day for Seattle waterfront tunnel politics. Aside from the jangling of chains over cost overruns, the state also released a video simulation of a drive through the yet imaginary tunnel. Are you looking forward to driving through it? In the background, you can hear the faint strains of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance.'