All Eyes on Seattle

By Josh Feit October 5, 2012

PubliCola has published a series of articles in the past few weeks (start here) revealing that the state is nervous about waterfront tunnel costs, particularly the sobering shortfall in anticipated tolling revenue.

One solution—and a stoic acknowledgment that funding is on shaky ground—was state house transportation chair Rep. Judy Clibborn's (D-41, Mercer Island) suggestion to Erica that the state raise the $2.4 billion state spending cap.

Her Republican counterpart on the committee, ranking member Rep. Mike Armstrong (R-12, Wenatchee) told us that raising the cap was a non-starter.

This battle can play out two ways; both are bad for Seattle.

In the first scenario, the cap gets raised, but the only way to get Republicans like Armstrong to go along with it is by pledging not to raid money for Seattle's expensive tunnel from their road projects.

With the right to spend more money, but nowhere to get it, prepare to watch the state descend on Seattle.

In the second scenario, the cap doesn't get raised, but with costs clearly rising, the state has to find more money anyway. Prepare to watch them descend on Seattle.

(Editor's note: A nifty Seattle rejoinder to Armstrong, though, would be to point out that Seattle puts more into the transportation budget than any other jurisdiction, thus paying for other region's projects already; would Armstrong support a bill that says gas tax revenues can only pay for projects in the county they're generated in?)
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