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’.