There are some very disparaging facts about our transit system here in King County, Seattle and Washington State. We see that we have squandered over 8 Billion dollars on projects that will not work while neglecting our public transit. Two of the biggest culprits in this waste are the Tunnel under I-99 and the Expansion of 520 to an eight lane highway. We need to be following the example of Vancouver, British Columbia a world class city which allows no highways through the city.
According to a 2009 Report put out by the Sightline Institute the cost would be 4.2 Billion Dollars. However we are already currently at 4.4 Billion Dollars. It is noted in this report that almost all tunnels except for the Mount Baker Tunnel by I-90 were over cost between 56 and 30 percent. This was for the Seattle Bus Tunnel and the Beacon Hill Link Rail tunnel respectively. Furthermore, this report does not take into account the .37 million dollar a day fine , while Bertha is not doing its job drilling and waiting to be repaired. There is added cost also because the project is being delayed. There are a lot of legal disputes between the Washington State Dept. of Transportation and the Seattle Tunnel Partners who are building the tunnel. Let us just say with all this the costs are at about a million dollars a day . As of March 1, 2014 Bertha has been unmoved for 15 months. So we have basically thrown away over 4 Billion. Pioneer Square Buildings are also at great risk of collasping due to the boring of Bertha, creating a massive flood of sea water which has to be pumped out at 600 gallons/minute. This flooding is not at all solved as of March 1, 2015.
Now, take a breath and let us move on to the 520 Expansion. It has been proven, that the moment you build more highways you get even bigger traffic jams. Either nobody will use 520 because of the 5 dollar plus toll being contemplated or it will jam up so bad, that it will be unusable.
Let us put this all in perspective, from King County we see the total budget for Metro was 639.8 Million Dollars for 2013. This means that more money was spent on Bertha's delays and fines for not working then the entire Metro King County Budget. This rings or message simple, loud and clear . Stop wasting money on Bertha and 520 and fund what the people need. If you switched priorites, you would still have 7.5 Billion Dollars left over. To get active about this please go to: Transit Riders Union now!! If you are still not convinced , look at this article from March 2, 2015 in the Seattle Times blog showing the complexity of what is involved.