Contrary to statements by the anti-tunnel referendum campaign, Protect Seattle Now, that the state department of transportation's commitment to spend up to $20 million on seismic upgrades to the 619 Western artists' building constitutes a "$17.5 million cost overrun," the reports that, in fact, the money is coming out of the state's budget for buying land and right-of-way along the path of the tunnel project.
According to WSDOT, the money for the 619 Western will come from $152 million budgeted for buying land and right-of-way along the tunnel path. If a full $20 million is needed to shore up the 619 Western, that would commit  close to half of that real-estate budget, said Ron Paananen, administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.

But he said he expects the remaining $70 million to be sufficient. WSDOT has made most of the larger property acquisitions for the project. Most of the purchases still to be made are underground easements along the path of tunnel, he said.

“Our goal is to hold that contingency for tunnel construction itself,” he said.

Paananen told PubliCola essentially the same thing on Friday, when we called him to ask about progress on discussions about the downtown Federal Building, noting that "initially, we had proposed demolition [of 619 Western], knowing that we would have to also mitigate for that in the historic district" of Pioneer Square.
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