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Conlin clarifies the council's position on tunnel cost overruns
Posted by Emily Heffter
Mayor Mike McGinn said Tuesday at a brown-bag press event that he assumes the Seattle City Council agrees with him about cost overruns on the project that would replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.
McGinn opposes a provision in the deal Seattle made with state lawmakers that puts Seattle on the hook for cost overruns. As reported on the Seattle P-I's politics blog, McGinn said:
"... is it then therefore the City Council's position that we should get past that point of return while we're dealing with the question of cost overruns? My position is clear, I don't think we should. I don't think we've heard from the City Council what they think on this point.
"We're assuming they support us, but I have not heard them clearly state that."
McGinn's assumption, as it turns out, is wrong.
Seattle Council President Richard Conlin said council transportation chairman Tom Rasmussen will make a public statement soon clarifying the Council's position on cost overruns, which differs from McGinn's.
Conlin said the majority of councilmembers think it would be a bad idea to reconsider the cost-overrun provision, because it puts the rest of the project at risk. Seattle should work on preventing cost overruns, he said, by cooperating and keeping the project moving forward.
There is some question about whether the cost overrun provision could be enforced. Even the bill's sponsor, House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn, said the state couldn't force Seattle to pay for anything.
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