Despite threats from lawmakers, Alaskan Way Viaduct provision is most likely unenforceable

Some want the people in Seattle to be held accountable for any job cost overruns, but governor said he will veto such an action

News November 12, 2010
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A bridge is worth a tunnel.

That is what one lawmaker in the state of Washington believes anyway. Rep. Larry Seaquist, who holds a seat in the state’s 26th District, announced on Nov. 11 that the people of Seattle will be held responsible for any cost overruns associated with the Alaskan Way Viaduct, much like his followers were forced to pony up when the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge came in over budget.

“I will be among those who make damn sure that deal stands in place,” he said. “We bought our own bridge, you can buy your own tunnel.”

Anyone who uses the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge is flipping the bill. Those with transponders have to pay a $2.75 toll, while motorists without the electronic means are charged $4. Washington State will continue to make payments on the span through 2030.

State lawmakers have included a provision in the tunnel legislation that will hold those in Seattle accountable if the tunnel project does exceed budget, and many politicians, like Seaquist, will try and make the measure enforceable, but both Attorney General Rob McKenna and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes have thrown legal language into the mix, saying there is no way the provision can be applied. Gov. Chris Gregoire also has said he would veto such an action.

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