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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 26, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Viaduct-to-tunnel plan

Obvious jargon doesn’t hide a political vision

Let’s think about what your article, “New Look at how viaduct shimmies” [page one, Feb. 25], said and what reality to us “nonpolitical” people is.

In the article, you state the obvious when you say bridges and buildings shake more at the top than the bottom. You say we should take down all buildings more than a few yards tall. But, modern structures are built to be flexible for this very reason. Stiff structures break in earthquakes!

Next, you say the magnitude-6.8 Nisqually quake “damaged” the viaduct, leading to costly repairs. Do you really think that a magnitude-6.8 quake would not damage an underground tunnel built with fill materials that turn to “quivering Jell-O”?

Next, which would you rather be in: a viaduct above ground in a quake or an underground tunnel, which could collapse or flood with seawater, with only two access points? Face it, with a simple modern fix of earthquake reinforcement and a comprehensive-maintenance plan, the viaduct remains a far better plan than the tunnel option.

The tunnel plan is not about traffic congestion. How is reducing the number of lanes and offramp points an improvement? This is about a “political vision” for Seattle.

— Art Francis, Issaquah

Serving the government, not the government serving us

Gov. Christine Gregoire insists on replacing the (allegedly) collapsing viaduct with a high-tech, higher-cost, labor-intensive tunnel that will interrupt, for longer than proposed, the already poor system of mass transit and public roadways in Seattle. She insists on spending millions or billions of extra dollars at a time when the Washington state checking account is already overdrawn!

Can you imagine if we all lived our personal lives that way? I’m broke, so I should spend more?

The difference in cost between the “tunnel” and simply revising or replacing the viaduct, a Seattle Landmark, could work wonders on any number of other issues: Seattle’s homeless population, the medically uninsured throughout the state, further road improvements, public-transportation enhancements or balancing the state’s terminally unbalanced budget.

I voted for Gregoire, twice. I believed she represented, and had, the same values as I did: that we as citizens (and as governments) lived within our means, within a budget.

I was wrong.

I see now that Gregoire, like Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, believe what I do not believe: the government in the state of Washington is here for me to serve. I, on the other hand, believe the government is here to serve me — to keep my best interests at heart.

I’ll be voting Republican next time around.

— Deborah Soares, Kent

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