Video: West Seattle Chamber forum on tunnel Referendum 1

(Added 11:33 pm: Unedited WSB video of the hour-and-a-half-long forum)
6 PM: Seattle Referendum 1 – which a court fight shaved down to two sentences out of 140 pages of city legislation – may turn out to be the only actual ballot measure related to the tunnel that’s proposed to replace the central-waterfront section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. If you’re not sure how you’ll vote August 16th – or if you’re not sure what you’re voting on – or what it all means – or even if you are deeply versed on the subject, come on down to the West Seattle High School Theater, where two reps each from the main pro- and anti-tunnel organizations are at centerstage in a 6-7:30 forum presented by the WS Chamber of Commerce. Your WSB editor is moderating; the final half-hour is scheduled for audience Q/A.

7:56 PM: Forum over – thanks to the 20 or so folks who were there, and to the panelists, Gary Manca and Jeff Upthegrove on behalf of anti-tunnel Protect Seattle Now and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and Vlad Oustimovitch on behalf of Let’s Move Forward. We have it all on video and will put it up, unedited, when it’s done uploading later tonight.

11:33 PM: Video now up.

14 Replies to "Video: West Seattle Chamber forum on tunnel Referendum 1"

  • Caker July 21, 2011 (10:56 pm)

    The tunnel will ruin seattle
    It is pathetic that people who are too rich to EVER sit in 5pm traffic got to decide what is built!! That is why they chose so poorly
    Plus they chose the most expensive option on the table
    Worst bang for buck ratio ever!
    And if thats not enough it has kicked off the dumb idea of tolling in the highest gas tax state there is!!!

  • Pete July 22, 2011 (5:58 am)

    Caker,,,just a couple of points….I was on the Stakeholders Advisory Group who made the orignal recommendation for the tunnel and I happen to use 99 each day to and from work. Also, the tunnel is not the most expensive option that was on the table. It is within 100 million of the surface transit option for example but that option would have other costs beyond construction costs in the length of time that 99 would have to be closed for construction to be completed amongst other hidden costs. Finally, tolling has to be an option due to the voters of WA approving all of the Tim Eyeman initiatives that have drastically limited the ability of citizens of WA to pay for these projects since for example we have no state income tax. If you think that the gas tax is regressive then you also need to look at our sales tax which is even more regressive. So we need to keep things in perspective here.

  • WS commuter July 22, 2011 (9:35 am)

    Caker – please offer a serious solution then. Because the surface only option would cripple the city and replacing the viaduct with a new viaduct would be almost as expensive as the tunnel and we’d go through 3-4 years of hell getting there.

  • WS Commuter #2 July 22, 2011 (10:35 am)

    Pete and WS Commuter:

    The tunnel is not a real solution. Traffic projects are failures if we can’t afford them and they do not work. The tunnel would raise the costs of replacing the Viaduct to $4.2 billion, leave us on the hook for cost overruns, and necessitate $5 tolls (over $2,000 per year!!!). Also, the independent Sightline Institute has crunched the state’s numbers and shown that the tolled tunnel is so bad for traffic (due to diversion from tolls, back ups on 99 as people try to exit before paying them) that it would be no better than tearing down the Viaduct tomorrow and doing absolutely nothing. (See For $4.2 billion, we should be getting more for our money. The tunnel is not a real option.

  • Another WS Commuter July 22, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Let’s be clear: Sighlight is working actively against the tunnel and their numbers have neither been studied nor should be used to make decisions.

    The so-called surface option (which isn’t even an option, it wasn’t in the EIS and therefore is not even remotely on the table) would put 110,000 cars on the streets. Can you just imagine what getting over the bridge would be like? Even in buses??

    The construction going on now will end, and it will be better for West Seattle. In the pipe dream surface plan, *the construction lasts 7 1/2 years!!* And at the end, you’re still stuck in traffic.

    no thanks. I’m in favor of approving the referendum.

  • Steve July 22, 2011 (2:35 pm)

    In no uncertain terms the tunnel is an epic failure before the first shovel full of watery mud is even moved. There’s no doubt in my mind that if it gets finished, (I have strong reservations that it will be) it will be an order of magnitude over budget and in the end it will not fix West Seattle’s, or even help the rest of Seattle’s traffic woes. Nor keep traffic safe.

    But at least it will open up Seattle’s waterfront for more surface development, and better water sight lines for those who live, work and play downtown.

    In addition much like the Kingdom was, the tunnel will need constant and expensive work just to maintain it. That is before it’s filled in, before it’s finished being paid for…

    Look no further then Boston’s Big Dig to get a glimpse of what Seattle is in for with this boondoggle.

  • cj July 22, 2011 (4:15 pm)

    Most people do not like the tunnel and were getting all kinds of cut backs but wow we have all the tunnel money handily put aside. The tunnel does not need to ruin Seattle in the future, its doing it now. The more expensive option other than the tunnel is not the only other option, but people standing to make money off the deal are not ever going to listen.

  • AJ July 22, 2011 (4:29 pm)

    To be clear, tunnel-related construction would continue for nearly a decade, supposing we can raise sufficientfunds. Moreover, WSDOT’s own numbers seem to indicate bus trips would take 20 additional minutes.

    And to get downtown you have to go through a huge interchange that plops you down into crowded Pioneer Square.

    Unless making downtown access nearly impossible is the point? Great news for Shoreline, I guess.

  • Joe July 23, 2011 (10:12 am)

    Can we just build another viaduct…….

  • redblack July 23, 2011 (10:13 am)

    do we want to see what the tunnel will really be like?
    after october 21, when the first section of the AWV is removed, choke the remaining viaduct down to 2 lanes each direction, close the seneca and western exits northbound, the belltown and first ave exits southbound, and the columbia street on ramp.
    and start tolling.
    then, and only then, will we know the true impact of the tunnel.

  • M July 23, 2011 (12:46 pm)

    the tunnel is only two lanes. did they not learn from I 5 under the convention center?

  • velo_nut July 23, 2011 (6:58 pm)

    Driving is stupid.

  • Paul July 23, 2011 (10:59 pm)

    sorry Im a Man not a Mole

  • NFiorentini July 24, 2011 (11:15 am)

    I support the tunnel. It will be more survivable in an earthquake, beautify the city’s waterfront thus drawing more tourist dollars, allow for development that will increase Seattle’s tax base, and improve traffic flow. People should look at the artist renderings of the area post-Viaduct. I was blown away!

    One part that I didn’t like was the variable tolling rates. But I’ve since learned in my microeconomics class: economists generally support higher tolls during peak congestion. People respond to incentives and paying a higher toll provides an incentive to changing driving habits.

    Quitting now means that a lot of money will have truly been wasted; finishing it is more money, but at least we’ll have something to show for it.

    A very, very nice something!

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