Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Alaskan Way Tunnel...back from the dead?

The Governor has slightly altered course again:
Gov. Christine Gregoire this morning left the door open to replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.

Without committing herself to a course of action, the governor said she wants to hear what voters say in a March 13 election in Seattle on the viaduct.

"There is no question that the next big issue is what do the voters say," Gregoire said at a news conference today.


"The end of the legislative session is the final say because we're moving forward with one of the two options we had in December (the elevated highway or the $4.6 billion tunnel) or whatever the Legislature may choose alternatively," Gregoire said.
Or whatever the Legislature may choose alternatively? So that means if the Legislature wanted a surface/transit option, that's what we would get? That's what the Governor would support? Well, it is good to know that our state's chief executive has respect for the legislative branch - unlike that other guy occupying the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue until January 2009.

What's really funny about today's development is what it does to all those news headlines from last week. The P-I and the Times hurried to declare the tunnel's death in boldface at the top of their websites and then in print the next morning. But the tunnel still has a shot in Olympia, apparently.

We know that Speaker Chopp and some in the Seattle delegation are decided (on a new viaduct) but they can't have their way unless the Senate and the Governor agree (and that's assuming they can muster a majority in the House). And even if the legislative and executive branches unanimously agree on a new viaduct, the city could still fight it, and opposed citizens could file lawsuits to block it.

But that conflict is most definitely postponed until the after the advisory vote, which is guaranteed to be one of Seattle's most high profile special elections in recent memory. Let the campaigns begin!

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