EDITOR’S NOTE: Time to talk over; rebuild the Viaduct

Seattle seems to love to talk.

Even talk stuff to death.

I don’t want that to happen to a replacement for the Viaduct, a transportation workhorse on the Seattle waterfront. And neither should anyone else who lives in the suburbs who travels north to Seattle, which is pretty much all of us.

Transportation, especially on major arterials and freeways, is a regional issue, not a local one. There are basically two ways to go north to Seattle, Highway 99 and the Viaduct, and I-5. I-405 is an option, too, but that’s really intended to serve the Eastside.

And, yes, the Viaduct offers wonderful views of the waterfront and the Seattle skyline. But by itself it’s ugly, a girdle around one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

Everyone seems to agree that the Viaduct would probably come crashing down in a major earthquake. That’s deadly, of course, and havoc would disrupt the region for years.

And that’s why Seattle and the state and King County and all sorts of REGIONAL leaders talked and talked for years about what to do with it. Finally, everyone who mattered agreed on a deep-bore tunnel and a replacement was in the works.

That is, until Mike McGinn came along. He’s obviously against the tunnel and that opposition is probably one of the reasons he was elected Seattle mayor but with just 51 percent of the vote. That’s not a particular mandate to go rampaging through decisions already made about the Viaduct.

Now he has helped spawn initiative efforts to put the whole issue to a vote. That speaks of desperation, especially since a Viaduct replacement has been thoroughly vetted.

McGinn is hanging his hat on part of the agreement with the state that Seattle will pay for any cost-overruns. I can see how that would give someone pause. BUT, Seattle has been told by the governor, attorney general and its own city attorney the clause is unenforceable.

Take heart that the Seattle City Council is using its separate powers to keep the project moving.

Enough talk, let’s get something done on a project that’s important to the entire state and region and is being paid for by the entire state and region.

Primary election

By now, you should have received your mail ballot for the Aug. 17 primary election. Election Day really is meaningless now with the county moving toward all-mail elections.

Instead, the election will play out over three weeks. The county was reporting late last week that within just a couple days it had already received back about 1,500 ballots.

It’s great to vote early, but significant developments can occur in a close or controversial race up to Election Day.

So vote, just don’t vote often. The county is keeping a really close eye on ensuring a fair and impartial election.


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