Thursday, March 09, 2006

WHEN TO LEAD

The Seattle Times this morning brings us a progress report of sorts on the Alaskan Way Viaduct:

“Nickels supports public vote on viaduct”

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002853442_viaduct09m.html

“The Democrat-controlled state Legislature adjourned for the year late Wednesday after agreeing to let Seattle voters weigh in on whether to rebuild the Alaskan Way Viaduct or replace it with a tunnel. The viaduct measure, part of a larger package dealing with regional transportation issues, requires the City Council to either put the choice directly before voters or make the decision on its own. Either way, a decision has to be made by November. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who is pushing hard for a tunnel, said he welcomes a public vote. "We'll go out in November and ask what the citizens think. They'll say no to the Big Ugly, and vote to do it right."”

Disgusted yet, Seattle? I haven’t driven the viaduct in 15 years and I’m disgusted… It’s been almost five years since the viaduct nearly collapsed in an earthquake. It was an issue in the gas tax controversy last year and has generally figured prominently in every debate over transportation spending our legislature has had since the quake.

We have been told time and time again the viaduct is a lit-fuse bomb – not if but when. Nickels and the Council could do this now. They could likely even swing the tunnel Nickels wants:

“State officials have said there's already enough money to rebuild the viaduct at a cost of about $2.45 billion… The latest estimates put the tunnel cost at $3.1 billion to $3.6 billion…City officials say they can put together $3.2 billion for the project, including city utility and street money and $200 million from the Port of Seattle. Raising the additional money, though, could mean an increase in the city's utility rates that would require City Council approval.”

They could do it now, and get it done six months faster… Or they could wait half a year for a public vote. I thought the public already voted when it elected the City Government…

So just what do Nickels and the Council get paid for, anyway?

Not for leading, apparently… Or having balls…


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