Chris Grygiel at the PI reports:
Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday vetoed a section of the bill authorizing the replacement of the 520 bridge that was a key goal of powerful Seattle neighborhood groups—one that limited the height of the new span.
The governor signed Senate Bill 6392 into law, but used her veto authority to remove the section of the legislation that specified a 20-foot height limit above Lake Washington for the floating part of the bridge. ... The problem with the 20-foot height limit was that it could prevent state transportation officials from complying with Coast Guard and safety regulations, [Gregoire's spokesman Viet] Shelton said.
The current bridge is 12 feet high, and it includes taller parts that allow large ships to get through, which is working now for the Coast Guard. The proposed design would allows a bridge around 30 feet—a proposal the Seattle City Council opposes. In a letter in January, Council President Richard Conlin and his colleagues requested "reducing the height of the crosslake bridge structure from thirty feet in the current plans." And today, Conlin was reportedly at the bill signing—held in Bellevue, for a bill that contains provisions supported by Eastside lawmakers and opposed by a host of Seattle lawmakers—so what did Conlin think of this?
"I'm sympathetic to the governor's feeling that you can't legislate height like that. That's an engineering decision."
Back to Grygiel:
The governor also vetoed a section of the bill that directed planners to come up with a final design that could handle both carpool lanes and light rail. ...
Conlin said the goals laid out in the section Gregoire nixed can be accomplished by the work groups. "We think we're in pretty good shape about getting the things done that we need."
Seattle has secured virtually nothing it wanted, but Conlin seems pretty much fine with that. In case you're keeping score, the state has refused to include transit-only lanes or light-rail lanes; the state won't even figure out how it would be possible to include light-rail and carpools on the same bridge; the state has made no assurances that the bridge will make a good transit connection to the future light-rail station at Husky Stadium; the state has been pushing a westside design that Conlin assailed back in November but has now been all but cemented into law; and now the state has also eliminated a provision to shrink a three-story wall across Lake Washington. And Conlin—our seasoned veteran at City Hall defending Seattle interests—seems to believe that "we're in pretty good shape" for getting all the things Seattle needs. Now that is optimism.