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.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nickels, Drago defiant on viaduct

Here's their statement following yesterday's meeting:
We are deeply disappointed with the announcement today by the Governor and legislative leadership. After asking for a public vote, the leadership in Olympia is now saying they are not interested in the opinions of Seattle citizens. Instead, they are threatening to impose a new elevated freeway or, even worse, taking state funding away from the most dangerous section of highway in the state of Washington. No other city in the state has been treated in this manner.

It is clear that Olympia is not interested in a real solution to the Viaduct replacement. The proposal for the Surface/Tunnel Hybrid offers a more cost-effective, environmentally-sound transportation solution that will save over $1 billion compared to WSDOT's inflated six-lane alternative.

Olympia has arbitrarily rejected the Hybrid solution and ignored the advice of their own Expert Review Panel. Their assertion that the Hybrid Tunnel had not yet been validated rings hollow in light of the Governor's order that WSDOT stop working on this proposal last Friday.

The voters of Seattle have a clear expectation that they will be given honest choices; that their voices will be heard; and their choices respected.

This is a choice about the future of our city, not about politics in Olympia. We will move forward with our plans to put the question on the ballot and let the people of Seattle decide the future of our city.

We will follow the will of the people of Seattle, not the dictates of Olympia.
It is worth noting that Olympia's leaders are also democratically elected, but the point about home rule and local control is well taken.

The Governor and the state Legislature would be foolish to attempt to force the city to accept the construction of a new viaduct and we strongly advise them not to pursue such a course of action. Olympia can try to back the city into a corner, but that won't stop the onslaught of litigation that will surely ensue if the elevated replacement option is pursued.

Fortunately, one influential lawmaker has already declared his opposition:
Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said he would oppose any move to force an elevated highway on Seattle.

"For Democrats to dictate to a local jurisdiction what a project looks like flies in the face of everything Democrats have tried to do to protect local control and preserve quality of life," he said.
The Governor and the Speaker would be wise to listen to Murray's words.

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