Approval of Referendum 1 should end tunnel debate
Referendum 1, the Seattle ballot question regarding City Council process on the downtown tunnel, wins resounding approval. Time to move ahead and put this long, tortured debate behind us.
SENSIBLE Seattle was not too distracted by summer sun, after all. Levelheaded primary voters said in clear terms they want to end the relentless debate about the aging, dangerous Alaskan Way Viaduct. They recognize the downtown tunnel as the most practical replacement.
In a low-turnout election, eight members of the Seattle City Council who back the tunnel got a resounding go-ahead. Tuesday's vote count was nearly 3-to-2 in favor of the chunkily worded Referendum 1, which asked voters if they approve of City Council process on the tunnel project.
If pressed, many of them would say they are more tired of the endless gamesmanship of tunnel politics.
The vote was shockingly strong in favor of proceeding with the project. The fervent hope is that now everyone can exhale and move on to other topics, like the economy and jobs.
The vote was a sharp rebuke to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and his pals at the Sierra Club, who have been arrogant about their opposition to the project. McGinn could hardly focus on anything else.
Campaign organizers for the tunnel purposely slapped a picture of McGinn, and sometimes, another Seattle boogeyman, initiative guru Tim Eyman, on pro-tunnel mailings. The negative public view of both helped carry the tunnel to victory.
McGinn, who told tall tales about his approach to the tunnel to get elected, also promised he would get out of the way once voters had their say. Now, he should live up to that promise. Do not call the lawyers, mayor, as you are expected to do. Follow through and really do get out of the way.
A lot of Seattle voters are less enamored of the tunnel than they are with the idea of helping the city maintain mobility. Many favored the rebuilt elevated roadway, but they realized there were no plans and no money for that.
Seattle is a growing, hourglass-shaped city. It needs north-south capacity.
The ridiculous idea of merely tearing down the viaduct and replacing it with more buses and wider streets never made sense.
All the histrionics should stop. Sensible Seattle has spoken.
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