In a letter sent to state officials on April 29, Seattle Department of Transportation director Peter Hahn complained about the bad blood that's come to infect planning for the proposed downtown tunnel project. The state Department of Transportation, Hahn claims in his letter, is currently freezing Seattle out of the process of reviewing the potential impacts of the $4.2 billion tunnel.
"It appears," Hahn writes, "that the city has been transformed from a somewhat junior partner... to what amounts to a silent non-partner." For example, Hahn says the state is refusing to accept input to the final environmental impact statement for the project.
Tunnel opponent Cary Moon says this is all part of a much larger problem. "This is no longer the same tunnel project that Seattle leaders agreed to years ago," Moon explains. "Because of that, it causes significant problems for the city, and obviously, as a colead on the project's environmental impact statement, the City of Seattle should be able to have those problems analyzed and solved."
What does the state say?
Scott Whiteaker, spokesman for Governor Chris Gregoire, says the city and state "have worked together in a cooperative manner during hundreds of meetings and technical reviews over the last 10 years. Where we are today reflects City of Seattle's substantive involvement."