With Bertha Stuck, Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn’s Tunnel Stand Looks Better and Better

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. On the day Mayor Mike McGinn officially leaves office, headlines center around one of the things they did the day he took office: the Highway 99 tunnel.

As has been well documented, McGinn’s opposition to the tunnel - and his concerns over who would end up footing the bill for cost overruns - led to an “obstructionist” image that proved impossible to shake. The results of November’s election, in some ways, speak to this, and the lasting toll it took on hizzoner’s credibility with voters.

But, as McGinn counts down the final hours of his administration, it’s interesting to look at just where the Highway 99 tunnel project stands - or, rather, stalls. Bertha waits in limbo, blocked by a mystery object that will have delayed the project by an entire month next week. No solution to the problem is in sight, and as Mike Lindblom of the Seattle Times reported today, officials say it’s too soon to know whether the stoppage will lead to cost overruns, or “how big those might be.”

So, point for McGinn?

“I think that I can look to tactics, or how I worked the issue, but I don’t actually regret what my position was,” McGinn says when asked about what he might do differently if given a second chance on his tunnel fight.

“I was painted as being some sort of ideological obstructionist who wasn’t trustworthy. Look where we are today? Bertha’s stuck. The meter’s running pretty fast. And there’s still no resolution about who pays if it runs over.”

Hard to argue with that.

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