The Seattle Times published a lengthy, numbers-packed piece on Friday breaking down the cost to build the deep-bore tunnel. The piece quotes gubernatorial rivals Attorney General Rob McKenna and US Rep. Jay Inslee reassuring Seattle taxpayers that they won't be on the hook for cost overruns.

The Times reports on McKenna's statement. (Tunnel proponents, of course, have already been citing AG McKenna's written opinion that Seattle is not on the hook for any overruns—and that legislators would have to pass new legislation to make Seattle pay.)
"I don't believe the people of Seattle alone should be saddled with cost overruns on a project of statewide significance, any more than the people of Spokane should be saddled with extra costs on the [Highway] 395 north-south corridor, or Eastsiders with 520. These costs should be borne by the cities involved and statewide, on statewide projects."

And Inslee:
"I agree with the bipartisan consensus that any tunnel overruns will be borne by the state. It is a state road funded by state gas-tax money and the costs are the responsibility of the state."

The issue of cost overruns has long been ammunition for tunnel opponents, who say the "risk is huge." Not to mention, the infamous legislative clause saddling city residents with the responsibility of paying overruns, which tunnel advocates say won't be an issue.

A nitpick on the above: Neither candidate explains how they will control costs on the tunnel, or how the state will pay for cost overruns if they occur. Nor have they vowed, as Gregoire has, to veto any attempt to slap Seattle residents with the tax burden. (This is especially pertinent given that the timeline of the tunnel will most likely leave a veto decision to Gregoire's successor.)  Make of it what you will.

Read the full article here.
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