Senate leader says tunnel cost overruns still belong to Seattle

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this statement today following reports that the latest setback to the downtown Seattle tunnel-boring project could add $125 million to its cost:

“Is anyone surprised that the tunnel-boring project is falling way behind schedule and racking up tens of millions in added costs? No one likes to see delays like this, but as I’ve said all along, the law makes it clear that Seattle is responsible for picking up any cost overruns. A deal is a deal.

“This only adds fuel to our Senate majority’s drive to improve the way roads are built and maintained across Washington. If Olympia wants more money to pay for more transportation projects, it needs to enact reforms first, not later. It’s no coincidence that the day after the bad news about the ‘Bertha’ drilling machine was disclosed, a majority of King County voters said they don’t want to hand more money to Metro. That’s what happens when the people lose trust in their government. The Legislature can’t force Metro to run a tighter ship, but we can do more to hold our state transportation department accountable.

“Our majority’s case for reforms is stronger than ever. Those who continue to resist transportation reforms at the state level simply need to look at the King County transit vote to realize that they’re on the wrong side of the people.”