Council Moves Tunnel Referendum Forward

By Erica C. Barnett May 23, 2011

Despite momentary rumblings that the city council would consider alternatives to a referendum on a portion of legislation adopting agreements between the city and state on the deep-bore tunnel today (the council has the authority to put an alternative proposal, or proposals, on the ballot alongside the referendum, which a King County Superior Court judge ruled last week was eligible for the ballot), council members voted unanimously today to place the tunnel referendum on the August ballot. The judge's order Friday compelled them to do so, but a competing measure---such as an up or down vote on the surface/transit alternative---could have confused voters, council members feared.

Although council president Richard Conlin said he had heard that "an appeal has been filed" to stop the tunnel referendum, both Protect Seattle Now, the pro-tunnel campaign, and the state department of transportation both said they had not yet filed an appeal. Both groups have 30 days to do so.

Refusing to quit while he was ahead, Conlin also took the opportunity of today's vote to note tersely that tunnel opponents, who have claimed repeatedly that they've collected the signatures of 29,000 Seattle residents. probably only collected "closer to 19,000" valid signatures, given that of the total, "at least a couple thousand of those folks were duplicate signatures, another 3,000 didn't live in Seattle, and another couple thousand were not registerd voters."
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