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    The Daily Troll: 520, A bridge too far (over budget). Port eyes $15 wage. Police chief bureaucracy.

    Tunnel debris. No campaign funds while legislators dawdle over budget?
    The governor's new transportation proposal includes funding for many large - and stalled - projects.

    The governor's new transportation proposal includes funding for many large - and stalled - projects. Credit: stevevoght/Flickr

    SeaTac vs. Sea-Tac on wages 

    Activists and members of the SeaTac City Council have asked the Port of Seattle to insist on a $15 per hour minimum wage for workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. A court ruling said city of SeaTac voters don't have the authority to raise the minimum wage at the airport, because the port has full authority over operations there. The port commissioners offered sympathy — that's nothing new, as Puget Sound Business Journal reports — and said they'll listen to Alaska Airlines, the chief opponent of the higher wage. But the commission is clearly feeling the political pressure on the issue. In a statement, commission co-president Courtney Gregoire said, "While legal questions surrounding the SeaTac wage initiative remain, we want to move forward to explore solutions to these issues of national concern." — J.C.

    Highway 520 bridge: Paying the piper

    State Transportation Secretary Lynne Peterson says she will likely have to take money from other projects to cover unexpected costs on the Highway 520 bridge project. The trouble is self-created by the Transportation Department: Its errors in the design of pontoons will cost more than $200 million. We will post a report from Crosscut's John Stang shortly. — J.C. 

    Police chief search on turbo

    Mayor Ed Murray says he hopes to have a new police chief selected by April. He laid out a timeline that would seem to defy Seattle process, but there's still hope for lovers of Seattle's tendency to over-think everything: Murray also unveiled a 12-member committee to conduct a national search, the hiring of a consultant to help with the search, a 30-plus member community advisory committee and a process flow chart to explain how it will all work. 

    Retired assistant chief Harry Bailey was confirmed as the interim chief replacing Jim Pugel. Since Murray has said he wouldn't consider naming an interim chief to the permanent post, the hiring of Bailey allows Pugel, appointed as interim by former Mayor Mike McGinn, to become a candidate. Crosscut's Bill Lucia is working on a report. — J.C.

    Tunnel: digging for debris 

    The Washington State Department of Transportation has begun drilling new holes in an effort to clear the path in front of its boring machine. According to KING 5, WSDOT crews are now drilling holes 5 feet in diameter to get at any other debris in the machine’s progress.

    WSDOT also released photos of the clean-up effort, one of which depicts a large piece of the 8-inch diameter pipe (at left)  that stopped Bertha back in early December. That piece was 57 feet in length. Other debris, including some boulders and another piece of piping, has also been yanked out. Stay tuned for more "finds." — M.C. 

    No budget, no campaign funds

    State elected officials cannot raise campaign money when the Legislature is in session. But they can raise money during periods between special sessions, which is exactly what happened last year while efforts to reach a biennial operating budget compromise dragged on.

    On Tuesday, State Sen.Joe Fain, R-Auburn, filed paperwork for a bill that would expand the fundraising restriction in odd-numbered years, the years when the Legislature puts together the state's biennial operating budgets. The bill would forbid fundraising by elected officials until a biennial budget is passed — eliminating quickie fundraising surges between special sessions if budget talks go into overtime. — J.S.

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    Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

    Mackenzie Ciesa is an editorial intern for Crosscut and a graduate of the University of Washington's journalism program. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys seeing live music and wistfully wishing it was football season.

    Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!


    Posted Wed, Jan 8, 7:15 p.m. Inappropriate

    I wonder if anyone else other than WSDOT might have ever sunk a well in the path of the tunnel and left a pipe in?

    I don't remember anyone ever mentioning that if the TBM ever hits a well, it will be broken. Are we sure this is a good idea?


    Posted Tue, Jan 14, 8:34 a.m. Inappropriate

    Not sure if they ever sunk a well in the path of a tunnel, but they have sunk a bridge in the path of an interstate highway.


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