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Seattle voters dig the tunnel

While Spokane voters were sorting through 11 different ballot measures on a wide range of changes, Seattle voters had one big ballot measure to confront: Whether or not to replace the seismicly challenged Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel.

It's a nasty debate: Sort of the North-South Freeway controversy grafted to the Lincoln Street Bridge fight, pumped up on steroids, and hooked on crack. Or so it would seem from reading the various news and opinion sources in Pugetopolis. 

Apparently, the good citizens of Seattle have had enough. They backed building the tunnel with roughly a 60 percent vote in the early returns.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, a backer of the getting on with the tunnel, issued a somewhat restrained press release: Seattle voeters sent a message loud and clear with this vote -- enough is enough. After 10 years of debate, hundreds of public meetings and technical studies and thousands of public comments it is time to move forward without delay."

This being Seattle -- where taking another look at things is a civic trait just like in Spokane -- "without delay" might be a bit optimistic. But the vote could take much of the steam out of the tunnel foes.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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