King County Superior Court Judge Joan DuBuque delivered a serious blow to Highway 99 tunnel opponents in Seattle on Monday. But while the ruling is a setback for the naysayers, it's far from the last laugh.
In the oral ruling, DuBuque threw out the anti-tunnel voter initiative I-101, saying that it's beyond the scope of the initiative process.
The initiative was designed to stop the city from using any public roads or equipment to work on the tunnel--effectively killing the project.
But Judge DuBuque ruled that that the state's initiative framework doesn't allow for such decisions.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Campbell, I-101's most vocal sponsor and a dedicated tunnel opponent, tells Seattle Weekly that she's "disappointed," but that she's not done with her fight. She says her group, the fecally-acronymed Seattle Citizens Against the Tunnel will file an expedited appeal with the Washington Supreme Court that will seek to overturn Judge DuBuque's ruling.
"The ruling isn't a surprise. You hope for something, but you don't put all your eggs in one basket," says Campbell. "We've regrouped and we'll keep fighting."
Perhaps adding insult to injury, the other tunnel news to come out Monday includes WSDOT's pick of the actual machine that will dig the hole.
Seattle Tunnel Partners, the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) design-build contractor for the proposed SR 99 bored tunnel, has selected Hitachi Zosen Corporation to supply the machine that will construct the tunnel.