Tunnel Head


Today over at Publicola:

Leaders in Olympia, including Governor Chris Gegoire and Senate Majority Caucus Leader Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), have both said that the proposed one percent MVET increase that was expected to raise $120 million for transit along the Viaduct corridor—and was supposedly a key element of the waterfront tunnel plan—is not part of the plan now at all.

Last week in the PI:

What’s apparently still keeping some of the advocacy groups onboard the tunnel plan is a proposal to let King County pass a one percent motor-vehicle excise tax, or $100 yearly on a $10,000 car.

“Our acceptance of the deal is completely dependent on the (excise tax) being part of the solution,” Rob Johnson, executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, said in an e-mail.


Meanwhile, the pragmatists have been chipping away at my anti-tunnel convictions.  A friend wrote this in an email today:

I love love love the idea of using the grid instead of a big heavy infrastructure solution.  Unfortunately I saw how SDOT and WSDOT planned to use the grid.  More vehicle lanes, removal of on-street parking, compromised green streets.  The story was turning grim–that’s why a small deep-bore is, in the end, a reasonable solution.

So yes, I agree: the tunnel makes sense, but only if one is willing to accept status-quo stupidity.  As in, a badly designed surface option.  And/or there’s no other way we could stop the Choppaduct.  And/or we’re so feeble-minded we could never find a way to repurpose the tunnel funds to something other than roads.  And/or etc.  If needed, stir in equal parts climate change denial and peak oil denial and you’re there.