Intelligent Tunnel Design?

A final decision due this week on replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct has been postponed, so that transportation officials can reconsider the option of a deep-bore tunnel.

“I think the governor would say that if we could make the numbers work, that is probably the most viable option,” Judd said. “But that option is going to mean that there has to be a real meaningful partnership with the city and county and Port [of Seattle] to make it happen.”

Meaningful partnership? In other words, Seattle taxpayers are going to be asked to pony up the extra bucks needed to pay the extra cost of a tunnel over the less expensive surface/transit option… which I suppose would be fair, if Seattle taxpayers actually preferred the tunnel… which they don’t.  Whether the money comes from the county, the city or the port, it still comes from us taxpayers, and I betcha if you put the two options on the ballot with the cost to local taxpayers clearly stated, the pricier tunnel option gets buried in a landslide.  That’s why, if chosen, you won’t see this on a ballot.

Oh, but wait… the Discovery Institute’s Bruce Agnew, the main advocate of The Big Bore, says the tunnel would actually cost less than engineers have previously estimated:

“We’ve always felt that, given the advances in deep-bore tunnels and the ability to build a deep-bore tunnel without interfering with the economy downtown and, given the experience we have in the region with deep-bore tunnel, specifically Beacon Hill, it would be a real tragedy to take it prematurely out of the running.”

Yeah, but then again, these are folks who don’t believe in evolution, so forgive me for taking their claimed scientific and technical expertise with a grain of salt.  As I wrote on this subject over a year ago:

In a city where completion of a 1.3 mile vanity trolley line is feted like some transportation miracle, the very notion that local voters might commit more than a half billion dollars a mile to an untested technology is a dramatic tribute to Discovery’s primary mission of promoting the exercise of faith over reason.

Of course, what Discovery really has faith in is the invisible hand of God—ie, the divine power of the free market to make gobs of money for themselves and their well-heeled friends—and buried along with their tunnel proposal is the notion that the extra cost will be paid for via some sort of “public-private” partnership… you know, taxpayer money heavily subsidizing a for-profit venture.  So now that we’re seriously talking about a deep-bore tunnel, get ready for the talk about privatizing it.

Comments

  1. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If this involves getting money from the Port of Seattle, that should kill it right there. The last thing we need is higher port taxes. POS is the only major west coast port that collects taxes to keep its contractors in clover.* That next-to-last thing we need is to create more opportunities for port contracting corruption.

    * I found it interesting — nay, fascinating — that the third-runway contractor overcharges in the latest POS corruption scandal are almost exactly equal to the total amount of port taxes collected from property owners.

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In this context, “partnership” means passing the costs to local taxing entities so the state politicians can say they didn’t raise your taxes.

  3. 4

    spews:

    Um, Goldy? “It’s all the Discovery Institute’s fault,” isn’t going to fly, seeing how: We live in a city that is run by a Democrat; within a county that is run by a Democrat; within a congressional district that is run by a Democrat; within a state that is run by a Democrat.

    But despite that, you’re saying the Discovery Institute runs the show around here?

    “I wasn’t saying that at all, and you know it! I was saying …” Goldy, I’m going to cut you off right there. That IS behind what you were saying, and it’s just a silly thing to say.

    Nice try, though.

    Now, when are you going to muster up the courage to speak out against Caroline Kennedy and her lack of lack of qualification to be a U.S. Senator?

  4. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Speaking of “transportation miracles,” and I’m sorry to belabor the point, Goldy, but your comment is a German blimp,* you and a slim majority of the voters very recently fell for a 25-mile (or thereabouts) vanity trolley, so you’re not one to be complaining. However, in this case, I share your sentiments.

    * A “German blimp” is a target so fat and juicy you simply must shoot at it, even though it has no military significance.

  5. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 “Now, when are you going to muster up the courage to speak out against Caroline Kennedy and her lack of lack of qualification to be a U.S. Senator?”

    Don’t worry your little head about it. That situation will care of itself.

  6. 7

    Puddybud, Very Sad Today... spews:

    Goldy wrote:

    In a city where completion of a 1.3 mile vanity trolley line is feted like some transportation miracle

    Only your peers thought that Goldy. “But we can’t wait to have the SLUT.” – Jerry Johnson

  7. 9

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    Troll bait

    Now, when are you going to muster up the courage to speak out against Caroline Kennedy and her lack of lack of qualification to be a U.S. Senator?

    Hmmm …

    CK is a constitutional law attorney, author of a number of books, philanthropist, major player in the Obama victory, …
    not that this is a real answer .. bue …

    Sarah Palin … for VP?
    GW Bush, alcoholic and fiale oilman. for Prez
    R Reagan, alzheimer’s patient as President
    Pat Robertson as advisder to president
    John Bolen, widely hated bigot as mabassadort to UN
    Condy Rice.. expert in a ancient history of the soviet union as nat sec. adviser
    Rumsfeld, enough said.

  8. 10

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    So glad to see you aren’t so shallow as to blame Bush for this clusterf*ck.

    I have never seen more time, MONEY & energy put into assessing the 8,491 options to address a relatively simple problem.
    This Alaska Way Viaduct process is a testimonial to Progressivism in INACTION!

    What a bunch of MicroDot Heads…and they are ALL Progressive Democrat LUNATICS!

    Goldy, you are sounding more & more like a Conservative every day.
    Perhaps you are growing up & wising up after all.

  9. 11

    headless lucy spews:

    When the taxpayers finish paying for the tunnel, we can ‘privatize’ it, and pay a toll for using it.

    That’s how the free enterprise system works!

  10. 12

    ArtFart spews:

    The Discovery Institute seems determined to prove that pigs can fly. I don’t know how long it’s going to take them to run out of feathers and glue, not to mention pigs.

  11. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    There have indeed been some advances in building deep-bore tunnels through dirt and rock. Perhaps not so much drilling them and keeping them in place in half-liquid muck.

  12. 16

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    drool–
    The lameass artists will surely be there with their unwashed grubby little hands extended looking for their handout…even in these tough economic times.
    Public Art is a Luxury…certainly not a Necessity.
    Repeal the 1% for the Arts.
    Turn the Art Money into pavement & concrete.

    Who isn’t tired of pandering to ‘artists’ and ‘writers’ and ‘poets’ who call themselves these fancy things rather than the truth…
    LIFESTYLE UNEMPLOYED!

  13. 17

    Steve spews:

    @4 “Now, when are you going to muster up the courage to speak out against Caroline Kennedy and her lack of lack of qualification to be a U.S. Senator?”

    When will a troll ever muster up the courage to speak out against people like this?

    http://www.republicanoffenders.com/Pedophiles.html

    We’ve been asking you trolls this question for a long time. Here’s another opportunity for you to again display for us your utterly complete absence of any moral compass.

  14. 18

    spews:

    This is one time where politicians need to step up and say to the public: “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to reclaim our waterfront and turn it into a world-class park, so that’s what we are going to do. Most of you people are too selfish and narrow-minded, to be honest, stupid, to know what’s best for this city. That’s why we’re done listening to all the whiny special interest groups out there, like the weird “Save Our Viaduct” freaks. Oh yeah, you people are freaks. The viaduct is a hideously ugly monstrosity blighting our city’s image. Anyone who thinks otherwise should be institutionalized. So, the tunnel WILL be built, and a world-class park will be built on top of it. End of discussion.”

    - Your Government

  15. 19

    spews:

    @17

    I condemn and denounce Republican pedophiles. They should be thrown out of office and jailed.

    And, you know, Caroline Kennedy is not qualified, you know, to be a U.S. Senator. You know?

  16. 20

    YLB spews:

    People like Jeff Sharlet have written about those strains of Christianity that believe people are wealthy and powerful because it’s part of “God’s plan”.

    I think we’ve underestimated how deep this belief system is ingrained in the right wing.

    Look at these wingnuts who come here. They split a gut every time someone suggests raising taxes on the wealthy. I guess that would be interfering with “God’s plan”.

    Totally insane.

  17. 21

    Max spews:

    “Oh, but wait… the Discovery Institute’s Bruce Agnew, the main advocate of The Big Bore, says the tunnel would actually cost less than engineers have previously estimated”

    Yeah. He/they said the same thing about Monorail costing less than light rail….

    Here’s the way the Discovery Institute works: they roll out their grand theories and visions. The grand theories and visions fall apart. The Discovery Institute disappears, pretends like they had nothing to do with it in the first place….and quickly moves on to the next hare-brained scheme.

  18. 22

    headless lucy spews:

    re 16: “Public Art is a Luxury…certainly not a Necessity.”

    Maybe for you. The Greeks and Romans felt differently. How do you feel about statues of ‘necked mens and womens’?

  19. 23

    Steve spews:

    @19 Good to hear you say that, Troll. I kind of figured you were capable of that. Now, regarding Caroline Kennedy, as far as I’m concerned, it’s up to New York to decide who might represent them best. If it were my call, I’d put in a two-year Dem benchwarmer and let the voters decide in 2010. If Kennedy were to run then and win, then more power to her.

  20. 24

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Isn’t the Discovery Institute a big backer of the idea of Commuter Rail on the Eastside Line? I hope they change their tune about using(heavy) Diesel Multiple Units, the only manufacturer building them to stringent FRA Crush Standards has gone out of business, so they might have to change their tunes. There are three European Builders building Light DMUs operating in the North American Market now, but they cannot share tracks with freight(like they do in Europe). The three makers are Bombardier(they are Canadian, but the Talent DMU used in Ottawa is a German Design), Stadler(a Swiss Company) has built such Light DMUs(basically Diesel-powered Light Rail) for Southern New Jersey and Siemens has built Desiro Light DMUs for North San Diego County’s Sprinter). All freight that shares the tracks with these vehicles can only run when the passenger runs are not running. Siemens, unlike Colorado Railcar, is not just doing fine, they are expanding their Sacramento Factory, as they are getting orders from many cities for Light Rail Vehicles. They have been in the U.S. and Canadian Markets since modern Light Rail systems started opening in the late 1970s.

    As for the Viaduct Tunnel Option continuing to be resurected, I hope they do not put it to a vote again, you will see Seattle Voters getting pressured by co-workers who live outside the city to vote for the Elevated options.(Personal Experience)

    Now although the City is pushing to move the Waterfront Streetcar to 1st Ave, especially with some of the possible construction impacts, I have heard of an alternative to keep it going on temporary track on Alaskan Way that could have kept it operating if the maintenance base issue was not part of it’s ‘suspension’. Put on-board biodiesel fueled generators on the W-class trams, that would generate current for the electric motors. That way they would not have to move the wires as well.

    http://www.railwaypreservation.....vannah.htm

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 Why does a Montana goat rancher care what Seattle does about the viaduct? As this doesn’t affect you, I assume you’re fulminating about it only because you can’t get any action in the goat shed and have nothing else to do.

  22. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 Of course my hole has art. Do you think urban rabbits are uncultured? We have more culture than you feral humans.

  23. 27

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    26. Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 Of course my hole has art.

    I’m sure it must be Arthur Godfrey in your hole.

  24. 28

    2cents spews:

    The extra billion or so for the tunnel can be our local stimulus package. Those billions will flow to the local economy and help keep our economy afloat. The voters surprised everyone by voting in every tax increase under the sun during the last election, why not extra taxes for a tunnel verses the two lame alternatives that have been presented to us.

    By the way Mr. Cynical and drool it’s 1/2 of 1% and nothing is preventing you from filing an initiative against it. I know you right wingers don’t get art, but I bet you wouldn’t come close to qualifying an initiative opposing the program.

  25. 29

    George Smiley spews:

    “I know you right wingers don’t get art…”

    They don’t get science, either. (They do seem to get religion; but so far as I’m concerned, they can keep it).

  26. 30

    WeBentOverTheGOP spews:

    I think that the city should send out ballots to all the registered republicans in the area and see what they would like done with the Viaduct – then – the city should do just the opposite. Why?

    You know why!

    Because the right doesn’t matter. They were destroyed on Nov 4. They have nothing left. They are busy fighting each other, hoping the country fails, setting plots to create trouble, and generally prove that their COUNTRY FIRST bullshit was and always will be crap.

    They were so soundly beaten in the last election that they shouldn’t even be allowed on the next election ballot. They were bent over – fucked in the ass – smacked around like the little women that they are – and sent home packing.

    Who fucking cares what right wing idiots think about the Viaduct? They get to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up until we tell them they can talk.

  27. 31

    Michael spews:

    @10

    This Alaska Way Viaduct process is a testimonial to Progressivism in INACTION!

    Actually, it’s a testimonial to the complete failure of “The Seattle Way” as a form of leadership.

    http://www.amazon.com/Neighbor.....0295984449

    Starting from the start With Teddy R. Progressivism has been a fairly get-r-done approach with a long list of accomplishments (look it up yer’ own damn self!).

    Progressive is the term you want if you’re looking for a synonym for liberal.

    As far as I’m concerned the viaduct debacle is 100% a Seattle thing.

  28. 32

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Yeah, Seattle built it so people traveling on US99 did not have to drive on the congested Elliot/Western Couplet. One of the engineers on that project later became Governor, and during the advisory vote on the Viaduct, pretty much came out against another elevated viaduct. By the way, that Governor was a Republican, three-termer.

  29. 34

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    28. 2cents spews:

    By the way Mr. Cynical and drool it’s 1/2 of 1% and nothing is preventing you from filing an initiative against it. I know you right wingers don’t get art, but I bet you wouldn’t come close to qualifying an initiative opposing the program.

    Anything is too much for the freeloader art crowd in Seattle. Many towns are now up to 1%….pathetically.
    Special interest groups like the loooooooosers in the Seattle Art Community deserve NOTHING!
    Get a real job you loooooooosers.

  30. 35

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    2cents–
    Actually it’s 1% for Seattle and King Kounty…they are very generous to the deadbeat losers.
    The State allocates 1/2%.

    Check out this article from the Times—

    335 artists aim for Washington State Arts Commission roster
    This year, 335 artists submitted applications to be on the Washington State Arts Commission’s roster of artists eligible for public-art funding. Only 68 made the cut. What gives?

    By Erik Lacitis

    Seattle Times staff reporter

    Claude Zervas says that, for an artist, rejection is more common than acceptance. However, Zervas was selected this year for the state’s public-art roster.

    2008 judges for the Washington State Arts Commission’s public-artist roster:
    Chris Bruce, director, Washington State University Art Museum, Pullman

    Rock Hushka, curator of contemporary and Northwest art, Tacoma Art Museum

    Peggy Kendellen, public-art manager, Regional Arts and Culture Council, Portland

    Peter Richards, artist, San Francisco

    Norie Sato, artist, Seattle

    List of artists

    See the complete list of 68 artists named to this year’s roster:
    http://www.arts.wa.gov/public-.....list.shtml.
    Judging criteria

    Factors the panel considered in evaluating artists and their work:
    • High artistic standard.

    • High technical standard.

    • Ability to work at scale appropriate to public art.

    • Potential or ability to work in media appropriate for public art.

    • Potential to successfully create a commissioned artwork with a minimum budget of $25,000.

    • Conceptually enduring.

    • Cohesive body of work, experience.

    • Site- and/or context-responsive.

    • Good image quality.

    • Current work, 1995 to present.

    • Not commercial. (Meaning “unique works of art.” Alice Taylor, program manager for the state’s Art in Public Places program, says the agency wants art that doesn’t “feel fabricated for commercial basis” in which hundreds of the pieces could be stamped out.)

    Source: Washington State Arts Commission
    Who’s in and Who’s out

    This year, 330 artists sought approval from the Washington State Arts Commission. Just 68 were chosen. These are just a few of the votes.

    Didn’t get on the roster:
    Amanda Knowles, 0 votes
    Noah Grussgott, 2 votes
    Marc Dombrosky and Shannon Eakins, 2 votes

    Got on the roster:
    Paul Sorey, 3 votes
    Claude Zervas 5 votes
    Erik Hall, 5 votes
    Valerie Otani, 4 votes

    When Noah Grussgott, yet another proverbial struggling artist, found out that only two of five judges gave his work the thumbs-up, his reaction was not unexpected.

    “I was upset,” he says. “I did believe I had a chance. But art and rejection sort of go hand-in-hand. You have to have a strong skin.”

    Grussgott, 28, wasn’t just trying for a best-in-show ribbon at a fair.

    He was competing to be included on the Washington State Arts Commission’s roster of artists eligible for public-art funding — about $2 million a year from the state.

    If you are not on the roster, you can’t apply to create art destined for that community-college lobby, or that National Guard center, or that space by the elevator in a state office building.

    This year, 335 artists submitted applications to be on the state’s roster, which is updated every two years. Only 68 of them, or 20 percent, made the cut — meaning that at least three of the five judges voted “yes.”

    The city of Seattle and King County 4Culture rely on rosters of artists for some of their public art, usually specific projects that, for example, are on a tight deadline. For most projects, they have open calls.

    The funding is figured into public construction projects (1 percent of construction budgets for Seattle or King County projects, 0.5 percent for state projects).

    No wonder we have a massive Budget Shortfall!!
    Repeal the 1% in Seattle & King Kounty
    Repeal the 1/2% in Washington State.

    What a bunch of bullshit.
    Art has nothing to do with Capital Projects.
    It has little to do with anything but an individuals personal expression….and they get Public Tax Dollars to do it!

  31. 36

    David spews:

    The extra billion or so for the tunnel can be our local stimulus package. Those billions will flow to the local economy and help keep our economy afloat. The voters surprised everyone by voting in every tax increase under the sun during the last election, why not extra taxes for a tunnel verses the two lame alternatives that have been presented to us.

    ——-

    Love to see this analysis . . . let’s double the size of the tunnel to double the benefit.

  32. 37

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    As for the art requirement, I myself don’t like the Seattle Art Museum. They acted like they counted on the Waterfront Streetcar to bring people to their sculpture park, but wanted the maintenance barn gone because it’s 1980s functional, modular architecture was too ugly. I would have said loan them back to Melbourne(the cars), but have looked that up online, and Yarra Trams(the private operator of all streetcar and light rail lines in Melbourne) seems to have been neglecting them. They got 50 of the W-class trams in service(not for tourists, actual public transit services, alongside modern LRVs), and 200 in storage. Export rules were tightened after Seattle bought the currently stored Waterfront cars for a steal.

    San Francisco MUNI and the Market Street Railway has a few Melbourne cars, in addition to the New Orleans one, but San Francisco had something to trade as colateral. They traded a Cable Car to new Orleans in exchange for a Perley Thomas Car. In the 1980s, Seattle had no such thing to trade to New Orlean.

  33. 38

    2cents spews:

    The state rules apply to the Viaduct and the 1/2 of 1% for arts doesn’t apply to transportation projects.

    Avail yourself to the initiative process Mr. Cynical, but it seems right wingers prefer to bitch and complain rather than act.

  34. 39

    2cents spews:

    The state rules apply to the Viaduct and the 1/2 of 1% for arts doesn’t apply to transportation projects.

    Avail yourself to the initiative process Mr. Cynical, but it seems right wingers prefer to bitch and complain rather than act.

  35. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @28 The wingnut concept of art is the photography in Hustler magazine. Except in Mr. Cynical’s case, he thinks art is the photography in Goat Biz Magazine.

  36. 41

    Puddybud, Very Sad Today... spews:

    Pelletizer: Larry Flynt (Hustler) is a Democrat. Look it up bunny fool.

    Happy New Year…

  37. 42

    World-Class Cynic spews:

    I still love Bill Virgin’s suggestion of simply annexing the new viaduct to the sculpture park:

    The viaduct is regarded as ugly? Simply annex it to the sculpture park, and slap on it a placard identifying it as “Industrial Landscape No.7, by Anon.” The art community would immediately hail it as a bold, stunning and challenging commentary on our modern condition, and fight fiercely for its preservation.

    BRIlLIANT.

    1 percent for art? That’s for wimps. Try 100 percent for art!