Mayor Ed Murray at the tunnel bill signing back in 2009.
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Mayor Ed Murray at the tunnel bill signing back in 2009.

Use your words, Mayor Murray. USE. YOUR. WORDS.

KUOW published an interview with the mayor yesterday, in which the station asked Murray about Bertha's possible effect on building a future fourth tunnel downtown. We tried to untangle his initial thoughts about the elusive fourth tunnel idea last week.

He did not do a very good job re-explaining them.

First, the mayor said that it was too early to look at a Plan B for the viaduct, and that he believes the tunnel will be built. Okay. But when KUOW asked Mayor Murray what he meant about Bertha's possible failure affecting future light rail tunnels in downtown Seattle—like he had suggested to us—the mayor proposed that the solution to this conundrum might be using less words.

"Again, maybe sometimes I should talk less in answering questions," Murray said. He went on to explain that trust in government was faltering because of Bertha, and that subarea equity—the way Sound Transit's regional voters are divided—would require more than just Seattle taxpayers to pay for a new tunnel.

"So I got caught up in a rather arcane discussion around sub-area equity and trust in government, and I probably should answer questions with less—fewer—words," the mayor said.

We don't want fewer words. Back when we asked the mayor to explain the subarea equity thing, he declined to go into the gritty details.

The mayor also played down the drama between the city and the state that erupted a few days ago. A scolding letter to the Washington State Department of Transportation suggested that city agencies were challenging the state on some of its assumptions about how saving Bertha would affect the surrounding area. The city hiring its own contractor to study viaduct safety implied much of the same.

Instead, the mayor chalked up city agencies' recent moves to peaceful efforts. "I think no one more than me is invested in working and cooperating and being collaborative with the state in order to move forward," the mayor told KUOW. "But by asking those questions, it doesn't mean that we're trying to undermine the state's effort to move forward on a big project."

Listen to the rest of KUOW's interview here.