April 3, 2013 at 9:04 PM
‘Tunnel Termination Initiative’ filed by Elizabeth Campbell
Seattle resident Elizabeth Campbell has filed a proposed statewide initiative, seeking to halt the Highway 99 tunnel. But by time the measure could even reach the November 2014 ballot, tunnel boring is scheduled to be close to done.
Campbell previously led anti-tunnel Initiative 101 for Seattle voters only, and gathered more than 21,000 valid signatures to qualify, but a judge voided I-101, saying the city couldn’t interfere with a state project. A separate anti-tunnel advisory measure, Referendum 1, did reach the August 2011 ballot — but a majority of voters supported going ahead with the tunnel.
Campbell’s new measure needs 246,372 valid signatures statewide, by Jan. 3, for the next Legislature to forward it to the November 2014 ballot, the Secretary of State’s office said Wednesday. Signature gathering might begin in a few weeks.
By late 2014, drilling should be nearly finished for the two-mile tunnel from Sodo to South Lake Union.
The Tunnel Termination Initiative, linked here, seeks to terminate the $1.4 billion construction contract. It cites “the collapse of the tolling plan” — so far, officials have failed to close a $200 million funding gap or find a toll rate that minimizes the likelihood of traffic diversion onto downtown streets. The text calls on the state to “restore SR 99 to its pre-contract functionality,” meaning a highway that can handle 110,000 cars a day. The state Department of Transportation planned to serve about two-thirds that volume in a tolled tunnel.
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