See video of Governor, Executive, and presidents of the Port of Seattle Commission and Seattle City Council speak at news conference, and read a transcript of the Executive’s remarks.
Three reasons to move forward without delay on the deep-bore tunnel
Executive Constantine's remarks at news conference on replacement of the state's Alaskan Way Viaduct
March 31, 2011
We're here today because - with all the controversy and political and legal debate - it's easy to forget how we got here and what is really at stake.
We'll hear from the State, the Port, and City officials about their concerns, but let me first give a perspective from the County and the region.
I have three concerns. The first: TRANSIT.
My own, overwhelming stake is transit mobility. As King County Executive I am responsible for public transit along this corridor.
We need to be able assure that Metro buses and our new RapidRide bus rapid transit --already serving communities to the south of us, and moving quickly into Ballard and West Seattle--will be able to move our passengers and not be stuck in downtown gridlock.
The tunnel is an approved solution that has state funding, and building it is the best way to deliver transit dollars today and in the future.
The rejected surface/transit option has no authorized state funding for any improvements, including transit improvements. That guarantees gridlock downtown and on I-5.
Buses cannot move through gridlock any more than cars can.
I am confident that we will be able to work with the state to reach agreement on transit funding both during construction and for the long-term.
The second issue is JOBS, and it's among my top priorities.
We need to create a foundation for growth and prosperity in our urban centers and get people back to work.
I'm glad to see here in the audience today workers and businesses from our waterfront and the Port, and local industry.
You remind us that the Highway 99 corridor is a lifeline for freight and people moving to and from work.
You remind us the tunnel is a project of regional and statewide importance. And that's why the State is paying for it, and why the County and the Port are partners in this effort.
The contract is signed. The work is underway. Let's get this project built.
My final concern: LAND USE.
I came to this discussion because I wanted to see our waterfront opened to a new, people-friendly community.
As a region we have a choice about how we spend our precious, dedicated, state transportation dollars.
We can spend them wisely to move freight and transit, to reinforce our densely-built urban environment.
Or we can turn our back on urban mobility and see those dollars flow outward along with our economic vitality.
I will always fight to see our dollars spent locally.
It's not even a question.
These state transportation funds are dedicated only for transportation, and with this project we are getting our fair share for a needed project that will create jobs, spur economic development, and help us realize the dream of a world-class waterfront for people - not a double-decker freeway, not a slow-motion surface highway.