This article is a few days old, but it’s still relevant:
State leaders are beginning the Highway 520 bridge rebuild with an uncertain and speculative finance plan that would fall short of the project’s estimated $4.4 billion cost even if all their gambles pay off.
These are the same officials who pulled the plug on Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ plan to build replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a $4.6 billion tunnel because it lacked a solid finance plan.
Though the groundwork for the new 520 bridge is already underway, it will likely be years before the state secures the money to complete the project.
If I remember correctly, the knock against Greg Nickels and his proposed tunnel was that the plan lacked a finance plan that stood up to scrutiny. The tunnel plan included dollars from this fall’s RTID vote, and also federal funds not yet available until 2009 and beyond. It looks like hypocrites in Olympia are slamming Nickels for doing exactly what they’re doing now.
Transportation leaders in the House and Senate are banking on $1.1 billion from a regional transit and roads tax package that even supporters fear may be rejected by voters in November.
They’re also counting on nearly a $1 billion from a pooled account established to cover cost overruns for 520 and also the Alaskan Way Viaduct — but under current projections, the 520 project would require all of that and more.
And unlike the House plan, the Senate also assumes $200 million in federal transit money that could trickle in over the next 16 years.
All while the final design remains a topic of vigorous debate.
And good luck with that design stuff. The major players in the 520 game (the UW, the city, the state, nearby neighborhoods, Sound Transit, and lots more) aren’t on the same page.