Seattle believes it has control over street-use and other permits needed for construction. By obstructing an elevated project, the city thinks it can drive up the cost [for viaduct replacement] another $1.6 billion, to nearly $5 billion, according to a chart issued this morning by Seattle Department of Transportation director Grace Crunican. That would put the elevated structure close to the cost of a tunnel.
One of the major controversies over the replacement project or The Big Dig II, The Big Dig Goes to Washington (A.K.A. the 'tunnel option') is that replacing the elevated roadway is much a much cheaper option. It's also less likely to go into major cost overruns. There are also a number of people that feel that the elevated roadway that exists now is one of the most spectacular urban drives in the country.
The use of permits to drive up costs seems to be the kind of thing that years ago would have gone unreported, and unsaid. Now, it's right out there on the table. This, to me seems to be an almost criminal use of governmental power to force a more expensive project down the throats of the taxpayers. To falsely cause the replacement costs by controlling red tape is something that warrants a criminal investigation.