Mayor Ed Murray, who said at last night's "Ask the Mayor" taping in Southeast Seattle that he would consider an alternative such as a cut-and-cover tunnel if the state's tunnel contractors fail to get the deep-bore tunnel machine ("Bertha") up and running again, elaborated on those remarks in a conversation with PubliCola this afternoon.
Here's what he had to say about the tunnel, the city's role in deciding what happens with the project, and what, in the worst-case scenario, Plan B might look like.
This is not a recommendation. [The contractors] have an obligation to drill that tunel and to get Bertha working. But should the state tell us that’s not going to happen, we need to encourage the state to build other alternatives, to build a [cut-and-cover] tunnel because I still believe we need a tunnel to make that corridor work for freight and transit. And cut and cover is the first thing that comes to mind.
We’re still the fastest growing city in America. We’re growing fast and we’re growing significantly and it’s going to require more capacity, including transit, but given the nature of freight transit alone is not enough.
It’s not my decision. I don’t control that. That's a decision for the state. The last thing I’m going to do is go to war with the state over finding a solution to this. We created an Office of the Waterfront, we got people who have expertise with megaprojects. But I have no intentions of hammering the governor or the county executive with an alternative. It’s my intention to meet and work with them. If we jointly come up with another alternative, so be it. I think it is incredibly premarture to talk about that.