Controversy Still Surrounds Seattle Tunnel Project

What future lies ahead for the damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle continues to stir controversy in the city. An upcoming ballot measure will ask voters to again weigh the project's feasibility.
April 12, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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The big question is whether the project should be replaced by a planned tunnel through downtown, which the mayor had originally opposed, then went agnostic and is now opposing again.

"Even as residents say they disapprove of Mr. McGinn, most seem to like his idea of holding a vote on whether the City Council was right to have approved the tunnel contracts. (The Council vote was eight to one, the one also being a former Sierra Club leader.)

The matter is scheduled to go on the ballot in August, except that the city attorney, the City Council, the governor and pretty much every other member of the exasperated political establishment say it has no business being on a ballot. They have gone to court to try to stop it from getting there. The decision on the tunnel, they say, has been made.

'Social engineering works in some places, like banning cigarettes in some places,' said Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat. 'Telling people you no longer can ride in your car isn't going to work because this city is going to grow.'"

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Published on Sunday, April 10, 2011 in The New York Times
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