City Hall

Richard Conlin: Council is "Following Our Own Course" on Tunnel

By Erica C. Barnett July 6, 2010

Seattle Bike Intelligencer has an enlightening two-part interview with City Council member Richard Conlin focusing on his support for the deep-bore tunnel. Some highlights from Conlin's remarks:

On reconciling his support for the tunnel with his long history as an environmental advocate: "I actually see [the tunnel] as the green alternative. ... And soaking up all that gas-tax money in the city actually really helps us prevent roads from being built in some of the places we don’t want them being built."

On why Seattle can't simply remove the viaduct and replace it with transit and improvements to surface streets downtown, creating a downtown like Vancouver's, which has no freeways running through it: "Vancouver made the decision initially not to build freeways through the city. And we’ve created [in Seattle] an infrastructure that’s going to take time to reshape."

On the risk if the city supports policies that would delay tunnel construction: [One possibility] is that the state says, 'to hell with you, Seattle, we’re going to rebuild the elevated because that’s cheaper.' ... My assessment is the risk is pretty high they’d pursue an elevated."

On Mayor Mike McGinn's request that the city add a clause to its tunnel agreement with the state stipulating that the state can't move forward with the tunnel unless it removes a clause in state law putting city taxpayers on the hook for cost overruns: "I don’t think we heard anything new from him. We’ve been following our own course, and we have concerns. We recognize there are risks we have to deal with."

Part 1 here; part 2 here.
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