Chris Grygiel went to the City Club's wonk-fest this afternoon:
During Friday's forum the lawmakers there - Hewitt, Springer, Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane and Rep. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup (a sub for Minority Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis) - were asked about the cost overrun issue.
During the "lightning round" of questions, in which lawmakers hold up a "yes," "no," or "waffle" sign, the panel was asked whether they thought Seattle would be responsible for any cost overruns on the tunnel. They all held up their "yes" sign.
For the record, Brown, the Democrat in charge of the state senate, thinks Seattle has to pay cost overruns on the tunnel. Meanwhile in the state house, Frank Chopp (D-43), the most powerful person in that chamber, has said Seattle leaders agreed to pay cost overruns.
Sounds like the legislature believes it can collect those cost overruns from the city, huh?
And, sure, the cost overrun law passed in 2009—saying Seattle must pay extra costs on the state project—isn't enforceable on its own. But that makes no difference. If the state hits its spending cap of $2.8 billion on the tunnel but the construction isn't done, the legislators have to make a decision. Here's their choice: They can collect money from the busted state budget or from Seattle. And, well, it sounds like they've decided where they'll collect the dough.