A sharp-eyed tipper pointed out this video, clearly trying to lambaste Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin for his hypocrisy on expensive road projects. Speaking at a council meeting, Conlin was opposing a proposal to build a second Montlake Bridge at a cost of $100 million. At about the 1:30 mark, he explains that is too much money for too little mobility. Here's Conlin's money quote:
"We're suggesting that we do the things that are cost effective that really work," he said. "Try those out, see if they work, keep the second Montlake Bridge on hold while we see if we can actually make things better in the corridor using less expensive, more effective alternatives."
"Where have I heard and seen Mr. Conlin reject that argument?" our tipper asks.
I know, I know. You might think Conlin is guilty of cognitive dissonance here, because he was the city's leading advocate for a not-particularly-useful $4.2 billion tunnel, while helping kill off a surface/transit plan that was more cost effective. That wasn't a case of trusting in "less expensive, more effective alternatives" at all. I'll admit, at first blush, it does look like Conlin was talking out both sides of his mouth. For one thing, Conlin dismissed a Nelson\Nygaard study that found the tunnel underperformed while, in this case, Conlin embraced a study by the same firm that showed the bridge underperformed.
But this implication that Conlin is a total hypocrite isn't fair. The tunnel project only served cars; the second Montlake Bridge is specifically designed to facilitate transit, bicycles, and pedestrians. He was also the council's leading voice to kill the monorail and the city's cheerleader for widening the 520 bridge without light rail.
So Conlin has been consistent for years: He reliably supports projects for cars, and he reliably tries to kill projects for transit.