City council member Richard Conlin, apparently responding to Mayor Mike McGinn's debate challenge on Tuesday, issued this statement:

The City of Seattle, King County, Port of Seattle, and the State of Washington have been working for ten years to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a piece of aging and potentially unsafe infrastructure. Scores of engineers, project teams, and leaders in the freight, labor, and business communities have debated replacement options for over a decade.

We do not need more debate at this stage of implementation; rather, we need to work collaboratively with our partners to solve outstanding and complex problems. Council will work to draft and sign clear agreements that protect the interests of people who live, work, and play in Seattle and throughout our region.

Look, Richard, if you're so confident that our city isn't on the hook for cost overruns, you should be able to make your case to voters. Whether you agree with McGinn or not, he's got the rhetorical upper hand in trying to protect taxpayers from a potentially huge bill. The state legislature has capped—etched in stone, essentially—the amount it will spend at $2.4 billion, yet we know that tunnels often run over budget. If we exceed that cap, who's going to pay? What's your case that it isn't Seattle? Can't you talk about this in public for an hour?

UPDATE: Emily Heffter just nailed Conlin to a tree: "Conlin was up for discussing the details of the project earlier this week, when he posted a blog item defending his position that the tunnel project should move forward. Now that a public debate is on the table, however, he says no more debate is needed."

That's a roast on toast.