SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council has approved utility and street-use agreements between the city and state in preparation for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project.
The council room was packed when the members voted. Most were construction workers and business leaders who support the 1.7 mile, $2 billion tunnel project.
The vote was 8-to-1, with only City Councilman Mike O’Brien voting no. O’Brien has long been opposed to the deep-bore tunnel option.
O’Brien says he still has concerns about how the tunnel will be funded and who will pay for cost overruns.
“For a community that constantly calls on government to act more like business, I find it troubling to say ‘no, we want you to do something that no business will ever do,’” said O’Brien.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is also opposed to the tunnel and has vowed to veto the agreements. City council members are expected to easily overturn that veto.
Opponents say they will continue to push two initiative proposals to stop the project. They hope to have the measures on the November ballot.
City Attorney Peter Holmes will not comment on what impact those initiatives may have on the agreements in the future. He says he doesn’t want to influence the initiative process.