Tunnel delay a big win for McGinn

Judging from his response, I’m not sure Mayor Mike McGinn realizes it, but he was the big winner in the Seattle City Council’s decision to delay until February signing contracts with the state on the Big Bore tunnel. For in a region where inertia, not money, is the mother’s milk of politics, anything that delays the project makes McGinn’s dream of stopping it all the more possible.

As for the council, what were they thinking? They had the votes by an 8-1 margin to pretty much do as they please, and a pro-tunnel media establishment to to back them up (they coulda routed an off-ramp through McGinn’s living room, while sticking him personally with the cost overruns, and the Seattle Times editorial board would’ve cheered their conscience driven independence). But inexplicably, they balked. Now McGinn has six more months to talk up his side of the controversy, and while he hasn’t quite yet gotten the hang of the mayoring thing, he’s certainly an accomplished talker.

If, as the council seems to be counting on, the bids from the two remaining tunnel contractors come in under budget, they should have little political trouble signing an agreement with the state. But if the final bid comes in over budget, well, Katie bar the door!

I’m just sayin’.


  1. 2

    tpn spews:

    Tunnel delay? You mean the date of construction has been pushed back? From when until when? Or, perhaps no one in their right might will bid on a contract in a politically unstable environment. Wonder what that would do for Seattle’s bond rating? McGinn is all spin, no substance.

  2. 3

    Alki Postings spews:


    Every project of this size, in every city, is ALWAYS a controversy and politically unstable. Wasn’t light rail, the monorail, the 520 bridge, hell the original I-5 project? NOTHING involving billions of dollars and disruptions and impacts goes without people pushing back and fighting it (right or wrong). Nothing this big happens with a rousing 99.8% of public support. Jesus Christ could come back and endorse this dang project and still you’d have a dozen lawsuits and press conferences from folks against it. It’s just the nature of politics.

    I don’t give a rats ass at this point WHICH option we pick (I personally like a cheap/quick cut & cover ditch replacing the current viaduct) but just choose SOMETHING. What I fear is we’ll just delay and delay and delay and end up doing what we started with, but with years of costs added.

  3. 4

    Steve spews:

    “I personally like a cheap/quick cut & cover ditch replacing the current viaduct”

    That’s my preference as well, although it’s not exactly “cheap”. I see it as having less risk of cost overruns than the tunnel project while still getting rid of the viaduct.

  4. 5

    tpn spews:

    @ 3 Wasn’t light rail, the monorail, the 520 bridge, hell the original I-5 project?

    Light rail; yes, years of delay, brought on in part by Brett Bader and co for years. Same tactics McGinn is using now, e.g. OMG costs! Taxes!

    Monorail? I seem to remember that the costs were driven up so high on paper as to make it politcally impossible.

    520? A. Rosselini– did you vote for him?

    I-5: what’s good for the defense department is good for the country (snark).

    Only problem with cut and cover is that we lose that corridor during contruction. Kiss some freight/maritime jobs bye bye.

  5. 7

    don spews:

    Well, the Times’ editorial makes no sense whatsoever. They’re praising the council for their leadership. For what, kicking the can further down the street? As I wrote in my comment on their page, when the bids come in over the estimates, who will the Times blame for the delay, McGinn or the council? Most likely McGinn, because after the recent polling was done, the council was “forced” to be judicious.