SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn has hired his own consultant to study the risks of digging a tunnel under downtown Seattle to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, reports The Seattle Times.
Two Seattle City Council members say it's another sign that McGinn is trying to stop the project.
The Times reports McGinn will pay Thomas Neff, a Massachusetts-based consultant, $44,000 to review the work the state and City Council has done on the project. McGinn says he wants an expert hired by someone other than "tunnel cheerleaders" to look at it.
McGinn said last month that he'll veto the nearly $2 billion plan unless the city council agrees the city will not foot the bill for any cost overruns. Most of the city council and Gov. Chris Gregoire have signed off on the project.
Council President Richard Conlin tells the Times he feels that McGinn has made it clear he will do anything to stop the project. Council Transportation Chairman Tom Rasmussen says McGinn "doesn't want this project, period."
During last year's campaign, McGinn vowed to stop the tunnel from being built, but shortly before the election when the City Council unanimously approved the plan, McGinn changed his stance but still insisted he would fight to make sure Seattle taxpayers did not pay cost overruns.
Gregoire has said any more delays will cost more money.