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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 18, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Highway 99 tunnel: A comparison to a past boondoggle

Those with some years and who still have memory will remember the nuclear power fiasco during Gov. Dan Evans’ reign, which came to be known as “Whoops,” a morph of the acronym for Washington Public Power Supply System. That resulted in the abandonment of half-built nuclear power plants around the state at great expense to the public.

I think we have another Whoops on our hands. Proponents of the Highway 99 tunnel — a dubious project at best, considering where it had to go — were sure that the project could be done for something over $2 billion. Others said it would cost in excess of $4 billion, a huge difference. Gov. Chris Gregoire opposed the project as far too expensive and risky. If she had maintained that stance, we would have been spared the huge expenses already incurred — but as a lame duck, she suddenly and without explanation reversed her opinion and supported the project. And here we are.

The machine has drilled about 1000 feet, and has failed several times. Opposing natural, and man-made forces and risks are seemingly multiplying daily. If the thing were eventually to proceed, given what has already happened, what greater problems would be encountered in the remaining distance? And at what enormous expense?

Bury the thing now. It has been no more successful than its one-term namesake, Bertha Landes. It can only get worse. Bury it and erect a monument on the surface to our stupidity.

Walter Marquardt, Seattle

Comments | More in Viaduct | Topics: Bertha, Gov. Chris Gregoire, Gov. Dan Evans

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