Dori Monson: Now it’s really time to bury Bertha

Apr 28, 2014, 1:50 PM | Updated: 2:48 pm
Dori Monson was out on vacation last week when it was announced Bertha would not get running for al...
Dori Monson was out on vacation last week when it was announced Bertha would not get running for almost another year. He had a lot to say about it. (WSDOT)
(WSDOT)

Taken from Monday’s edition of The Dori Monson Show.

What a week to be gone? I had a lot of D-Mails from listeners who wondered if they timed the announcement of Bertha’s big delay for the week I would be on vacation. But I don’t think they’re that smart.

I have complete, total, utter vindication as they announce the tunnel digging will not resume for a year.

My predictions on this go back five years ago. When then Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond went to the Seattle Rotary and said this about the project:

“The project may cost $2.8 billion. We believe we can bring it in for under, although we’re not going to talk too much about that until we get further in our design. Some people say we’ve got it priced too high. Legislators and talk show hosts say we’ve priced it too low. And I think the new big game is, I heard Dori Monson will quit his job on the radio if we bring it in under budget. That is enough incentive for us to bring it in under budget.”

Then, back in January, I was telling my listeners it’s going to be a year. I had Lynn Peterson, the new secretary of transportation in the studio, and asked her about the tip I’d gotten that said Bertha’s halt in December would mark a one-year delay.

From previous interview with Lynn Peterson:

Dori Monson: I had somebody who turned out to be pretty accurate, I don’t know if they’re an insider, but I had somebody who tipped me off about a week ago as to what to expect whenever it was revealed what was blocking things and they have followed up and told me that they’ve heard it could be a one-year delay. Honestly, that person has given me information that has proved to be accurate […] could it be a long delay up to a year?

Lynn Peterson: Highly doubt that, but again, it’s very early to speculate on exactly how long it will take but we do know what the next step in the process is, and that is to put this pipe down, five foot diameter pipe and be able to pull that steel out.

Now we’ve found out how much more extensive it’s going to be, but again that was on January 6 when my listeners knew it was going to be at least a year delay. We’ve been basically lied to for more than three months.

My tipster was accurate. I knew that he was. That’s why I was willing to ask that question of Lynn Peterson live on the air, because I was putting my credibility on the line if they had restarted in less than a year.

Again, I don’t have an engineering background. I’m a dumb guy from Ballard and because I had good information, I’ve been able to provide my listeners with a far more accurate picture of what’s been going on than all of the government officials combined.

So I will repeat today what I called for three months ago. It is time to pull the plug on the Seattle tunnel. It is time to bury Bertha.

This is going to be tough to do because all of those downtown property owners who bought off all of the politicians involved in selling this boondoggle to the public, they expect a return on investment.

They bought off politicians and they used those paid-for-politicians to sell this insane project to the people of the region and they don’t care how much it costs. They just care that they got theirs. Everybody involved has gotten theirs and who is going to be stuck with all of this?

I’m telling you it is going to be more than $1 billion in overruns. Everybody laughed at me when I said that, and they said I’m engaging in hyperbole.

What are we up to now, just based on last week when I was gone? $190 million. That is the overruns they’re asking for right now. And they’re still stuck. They haven’t even started. How many employees have been getting paid for seven months since this thing got stuck and will continue to get paid for the next year as this thing is sitting around. You’re telling me that’s not going to be $1 billion?

Spokespeople from both WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners came out to give a press conference when it was announced Bertha wouldn’t be running until March. This is proof of how screwed over the taxpayers are going to be by this project.

“Remember this is a fixed-price contract and Seattle Tunnel Partners has the obligation to complete this tunnel and the project for the price that they bid and that is still the plan,” said Todd Trepanier with the WSDOT. “Right now, it would be the same cost as the taxpayers were expecting at the beginning of the project.”

“Who is ultimately responsible and liable for that time and that cost is going to be determined by a review of the contract and negotiating those things within the terms and conditions of the contract,” said Chris Dixon with Seattle Tunnel Partners.

So in other words they’re just going to string out the litigation.

Then there’s this great Seattle Times piece today by Mike Baker about the CEO of Seattle Tunnel Partners, Ron Tutor. They say he has a history of only signing deals where there is some ambiguity in who pays for cost overruns and that he will litigate, litigate, litigate so they don’t have to pay.

This is such a political game being manipulated by politicians and downtown property owners to screw over the people of this region. If you think for one second that this is about getting cars from one end of downtown to the other, you are so sadly mistaken.

I’m passionate about this because I’ve been telling you this for over five years and everything I’ve said has been 100 percent accurate. This is a gigantic scheme by big property owners, developers and politicians.

Taken from Monday’s edition of The Dori Monson Show.

Related:
Documents: Seattle tunnel contractor wants $190M more
A Bertha timeline: From conception to today

JS

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Dori Monson: Now it’s really time to bury Bertha