ROADS/BRIDGES: Megaprojects turning into a mega problem for Wash.

Problems, cost overruns not helping efforts to pass a new transportation-funding package

News Seattle Times January 10, 2014
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Big Bertha should be on the move soon. The same can’t be said for a new transportation-funding package in the state of Washington.


Officials said crews are getting closer to freeing the tunnel-boring machine (Big Bertha) responsible for chewing up an opening for the S.R. 99 tunnel. However, megaproject complications, including work on the S.R. 520 floating bridge, are not sitting well with the state legislature.


Officials want to know who is going to pay for removing the obstacle currently in front of Big Bertha, as well as the cost overruns that have plagued the 520 bridge.


A transportation-funding plan that called for a 10-cent gas-tax increase was defeated late last year, and lawmakers are at odds over issues like storm-water treatment, sales tax collected from transportation projects and public-transportation funding.


“I do think it erodes public support for a tax package,” Rep. Ed Orcutt said, referring to the megaproject mess. “I just got an e-mail from a constituent saying, ‘I don’t have a problem with taxes, but I’m concerned about paying taxes when I see these kinds of things occurring.’”

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