City Hall

Council's Tunnel Committee Passes Nonbinding Transit Resolution

By Erica C. Barnett August 2, 2010

The City Council's viaduct oversight committee just passed a Richard Conlin- and Tom Rasmussen-sponsored resolution—which I wrote about over the weekend—that would "urge" Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state legislature to come up with additional transit funding as part of the viaduct replacement project. The resolution would not, unlike an amendment proposed by council member (and tunnel opponent) Mike O'Brien, make tunnel construction contingent on actual funding for transit.

Conlin read a tepid letter from the Transportation Choices Coalition stating that the transit group hasn't taken a position on the tunnel or the transit resolution, and has had "a hard time coming up with" better language than what Conlin and Rasmussen proposed. And Rasmussen said he was confident that the state legislature would provide new transit funding mechanisms next session. "When we go to Olympia, because of the support of the governor and many other cities in this state, we will have a very good opportunity for success in this session," Rasmussen said.

However, O'Brien countered that without a strong commitment to transit funding, "I think this [project] is going to be a failure, and that would be a shame."

O'Brien abstained from the final vote because the text of the resolution has only been available to the public for about the last eight hours. "I think it would be appropriate for the public and the media to at least have a day to review documents like this," O'Brien says.

The council will vote on a resolution committing to sign agreements with the state on the deep-bore tunnel, but holding off until two tunnel bidders release their bids, later this afternoon.
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