Seattle Citizens Against the Tunnel (SCAT), a group let by advocates to rebuild the Alaskan Way Viaduct, say its members have gathered the minimum 22,271 signatures required to place city Initiative 101 on the ballot. If passed, I-101 would prohibit city contracts for the state's proposed deep-bore tunnel under downtown.

Elizabeth Campbell, the group's leader, sent a notice to reporters today explaining that the group, which had originally intended to submit the signatures to the City Clerk this afternoon, would postpone its turn-in until February 1. Until then, the group will continue petitioning to ensure it has a cushion to compensate for invalid signatures (e.g., lapsed voter registration, wrong address, etc.)

"The voters of Seattle are well on the way towards being able to vote on this project," wrote Campbell.

But even if I-101 does qualifies for a vote, its legal impact is questionable. The city council will likely have already approved contracts with the state to permit construction on and under city-owned property this winter, well before this initiative could make the ballot. Likewise, another initiative, I-102, has few (if any) legal teeth.

That said, if either initiative is on the ballot, it will have political implications. Candidates for the five city council seats open this year—specifically incumbents who backed the tunnel—will be forced to debate the merits and shortcomings of an expensive project with major drawbacks.