1. The Port of Seattle has agreed to fund $231 million in new debt to help pay for the Alaskan Way tunnel, the Seattle Times reports, using their property taxing authority to fund a portion of the new tunnel. The Port says it won't have to charge any new taxes because it will pay for the tunnel with existing bond obligations, which are expiring.
The Port's contribution has been up in the air since the tunnel was approved, with the Port saying they won't pay their share (for street improvements and for tearing down the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct) until after the tunnel is built.
2. The Columbian reports that a group of supporters of the proposed Columbia River Crossing project, which would have linked Vancouver and Portland with a new highway span (and light rail) across the Washington-Oregon border, think they've come up with a way to build the crossing even without money from the Washington state legislature, which refused to provide funding for the project this year because Vancouver-area legislators like Don Benton (R-17) don't like light rail (although they do like freeways).
In the new scenario, light rail opponents would not only not get a new freeway—they'd be saddled with light rail, too.
Under the proposal, the crossing would move forward with Oregon dollars funding Oregon's side of the new freeway interchange, plus federal dollars to pay for a new light-rail line between the two states; any freeway improvements on the Washington side would be contingent on Washington state approving funding in the future.
3. The News Tribune reports on the hotly contested 26th District state senate race, where Democratic state Sen. Nathan Schlicher—appointed to the seat to replace Derek Kilmer, who won his race for Congress last year—was losing by a wide margin last night by Republican Rep. Jan Angel, who represents the district in the state house.
If Angel wins in the general, the Republicans will add one vote to their effective one-vote senate majority of 23 Republicans and two conservative Democrats. The count would go from a 25-24 GOP advantage to a 26-23 advantage.
4. As Seattle's mayoral race centers on "livable wages," a fast-food restaurant in Detroit has shown that paying a living wage can be a recipe for success; according to the Daily Beast, Moo Cluck Moo, a Detroit burger/chicken/milkshake shop, pays employees a starting wage of $12 an hour (and an average of $14 an hour)—nearly $5 more than Michigan's minimum wage of $7.40 an hour.
The owner of the shop says his workers are "much more tuned in to their jobs" than minimum-wage workers and "are really talented—they just haven't gone to the University of Michigan, for a variety of reasons."