Afternoon Jolt: The Stick-it-to-Medina Provision
THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED: Sen. Jamie Pedersen's gotcha amendment.
HERE'S WHAT'S HAPPENING AT AROUND 7:45 PM: Sen. Tom is reportedly upset about Pedersen's successful amendment to make Medina property owners pay for cost overruns on 520, and he's trying to use a pending Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane) amendment that reiterates the stick-it-to-Seattle provision on tunnel cost overruns as leverage to get Democrats to undo the Medina amendment.
In other words: If the Republicans agree to vote down Baumgartner's amendment—a statement that would add cred to the longstanding Democratic argument that the tunnel overruns amendment is unenforcable—the Democrats will sign off on repealing Pedersen's Medina amendment. (Sen. Tom is from Medina.)
Baumgartner already added an amendment to Pedersen's Medina amendment putting Seattle on the hook along with Medina when it comes to covering 520 overruns. Baumgartner's 520 provision would disappear too if Pedersen's snarky Medina amendment gets tossed.
State Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) has introduced a snarky amendment to the Republicans' supplemental transportation budget—a spoof of the stick-it-to-Seattle provision on the Alaskan Way Tunnel funding legislation that would put Medina residents on the hook for cost overruns on the 520 project, which currently needs an additional $170 million from the state.
"There are no cost overruns on the tunnel yet," Pedersen says by way of comparison.
Pedersen says the point of his amendment is "to illustrate the lunacy of making people who live near a project pay for cost overruns when WSDOT or the contractor or fill in the blank is responsible." (One of those "people who live near the project," of course, is state Sen. Rodney Tom—D-48, Medina—who heads up the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus.)
Pedersen explains that his amendment is intended to A) dramatize how ridiculous it is to make one community "bear the costs" of a state project and B) to show how vague it is to make "property owners in the Seattle area who benefit" from tearing down the viaduct and replacing it with the deep-bore tunnel pay for any cost overruns.
Pedersen did vote for the tunnel legislation that included the stick-it-to-Seattle provision—though he explained at the time that he didn't believe it was legally enforceable (a subsequent attorney general's opinion validated his position)—and he also voted for the original Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) amendment that locked it into the legislation.
He's kinda making up for it with this gotcha provision which is supposed to come up for a vote this afternoon.
7:15 PM UPDATE: Pedersen's amendment passed, the last laugh may be on Seattle, Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane) amended Pedersen's amendment, adding "the the city of Seattle to those required to pay for cost overruns to the SR 520..."
Baumgartner also has a pending amendment that, in light of the current boring machine fiasco, reiterates the stick-it-to-Seattle amendment stating: "that any cost overruns on the SR 99/Alaskan Way Viaduct - Replacement project that are not the responsibility of the contractor must be borne by the property owners in Seattle who benefitted from the replacement of the viaduct with a tunnel."