SR 519Vince Koskela is optimistic about the new baseball season: Maybe the

SR 519Vince Koskela is optimistic about the new baseball season: Maybe the state auditor will look further into his complaint about the planned $39-million elevated SoDo stadiums roadway that will help make rich sports franchises richer. As head of the little watchdog group, Taxpayers On Strike, Koskela has been making noise about plans by the state to build what is effectively a bridge along Royal Brougham Way leading to the Qwest Field parking garage and benefitting Seahawks owner Paul Allen, just as an earlier phase of the project benefitted the Mariners’ ownership. Last week, Jan Jutte, director of legal affairs for auditor Brian Sonntag, told Koskela via e-mail, she “will have one of our attorneys look at your concerns and get back to you.””Finally!” says Koskella. The snake-like loop road, officially the second phase of State Route 519 (the on/off ramps from the stadiums to I-5 and I-90), “has been slipping through the cracks for over ten years,” says Koskela, who has also contacted the state treasure’s office. Among his complaints are “illegal private meetings…under-the-table negotiations, deals, payments and/or favors.” The issue has bugged him since the first project meeting, he says, “where the plan was announced to deceive the State Legislature, King County Council and the Seattle City Council.”The legislation that provided for Safeco and Qwest field funding, he points out, prohibits the state from making any additional contributions to the stadiums. But the SR 519 project, whose $358 million cost has risen $100 million, directly correlates to filling seats at Safeco and Qwest and putting money in the bank for wealthy sports moguls, says Vince. And one more thing: visually, “The layout is BUTT UGLY!”Update: The State DOT says Koskela’s figures for the overall project costs (he includes what he considers related costs, including financing) are way off: By their count, total funding for both phases of SR 519 is approximately $183.7 million.

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