Governor Christine Gregiore yesterday sent out a warm invitation to "the public and the media to attend a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate a much-anticipated occasion—the start of construction to replace the southern mile of the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct." But Gregoire's staff says this morning that the Governor won't attend.

Instead she's hopping on a plane this afternoon to Washington, D.C. About $480 million in federal matching funds for the state's Medicaid program are in jeopardy, says Gregoire spokeswoman Karina Shagren, so Gregoire is joining a group of governors to push for a vital funding bill to move through the Senate. Without that money, which was already accounted for in the state's current budget cycle, Washington would have to cut 7.5 percent across the board from every department.

Today's ceremony, including Mayor Mike McGinn and City Council Member Tom Rasmussen, will break ground for a portion of the viaduct south of downtown that is unrelated to the controversial deep-bore tunnel. This part of the highway replacement is compatible with any of the proposals—tunnel, surface/transit, or new elevated freeway—for replacing the viaduct through the central downtown waterfront, say folks at the state transportation department.