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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
8/3/2006  2:32:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Newell Aldrich, Licata Office, (206) 684-8803
Tatsuo Nakata, Della Office, (206) 684-8806
Zuzka Lehocká-Howell (206) 233-3981


LICATA PROPOSES PUBLIC VOTE ON TUNNEL

Seattle—Nick Licata today announced he intends to introduce a resolution calling for a public vote on a tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

"We don't have enough funding to pay for a tunnel. I believe we need to consult the public before moving ahead. A tunnel likely costs at least $1 billion more than a rebuild, and Seattle residents may have to pay the difference, and any cost overruns,” Licata said.

The proposal calls for a public vote on the following "Yes" or "No" question:

"Should Seattle construct a tunnel to replace the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct?"

Councilmember David Della is a co-sponsor of the resolution. Della said, “Not only is this a paramount transportation issue, but it’s also an issue about safety and jobs. The gamble is too big. I don’t want to risk lives betting on an aesthetic point of view. We need to make a final decision and do it in an expedient manner that provides people with a genuine opportunity to state their own preference. Let the people have a say and then let’s move on before Mother Nature decides for us.”

Licata added, “other less expensive options could be explored if the public decides against a tunnel.”

The tunnel proposed to replace the existing Alaskan Way Viaduct would be the largest public works project in the city’s history, even larger than the proposed monorail project, which the public voted on more than once.

September 22 is the deadline for the City Council to place a measure on the ballot for the November 7 General Election.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) estimates the cost to be $3.7 to $4.5 billion. WSDOT estimates the “core” tunnel at $3.0 to $3.6 billion.

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