• Benjamin Cody
There was always a bit of a zero-sum game going on between the City of Seattle and King County when it came to competition for the federal stimulus dollars that were awarded today. Seattle wanted $30 million in federal funds to start fixing the Mercer Mess. King County wanted $100 million from the same pot in order to fix the South Park Bridge, which I described this way in January:

The rickety South Park Bridge is now creaking into its 78th year and continues to threaten to fall down if someone breathes on it too hard. It's been given a federal safety ranking of 4—out of 100—and has the remarkable distinction of being less safe than the viaduct.

It was unlikely that both the county and city were going to get the money they wanted and, as it turned out, Seattle was awarded $30 million while King County was awarded $0.

Which means that while the South Lake Union neighborhood is going to become a much nicer place for car commuters and Paul Allen's development company, the South Park neighborhood is still fucked. The bridge, which is the most direct route for getting out of the neighborhood core, across the Duwamish River, and into the rest of Seattle, could now be shut down.

On KUOW this morning, I heard Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess saying, essentially: "Oh well. The county owns the bridge. It's the county's problem."

Yeah, the bridge itself is in King County. But the land on either side of the bridge is in Seattle, which means that a lot of Burgess's constituents care an awful lot about it getting fixed or replaced—and probably don't want him washing his hands of the problem based on a technocratic reading of city and county maps.

As I wrote in January:

Local elected officials must find a way to replace this unsafe bridge, and replace it now. An often-ignored, growing neighborhood needs it, and the constituents of everyone involved—city and county councilmembers, state legislators, and our representatives in Congress—deserve to have their government officials working together to solve such a basic safety problem along an essential traffic corridor.