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Inslee, Millar statement on Thurston County Court verdict in favor of WSDOT

December 13, 2019

Story 

Gov. Jay Inslee and Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar issued a joint statement today:

"The opening of the SR 99 tunnel and the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct were transformative for Seattle," Inslee said. "Hundreds of workers, including the SR 99 tunnel contractor, deserve our thanks for the herculean effort it took to repair the tunneling machine and finish the SR 99 tunnel. Some wanted to abandon this project, but we should be thankful Washington persisted in the face of difficulties. We never wavered from our position that it was always the contractor’s responsibility to fix the tunneling machine and that taxpayers should not pay the repair bill. We are grateful the jury agreed and awarded damages to taxpayers for a tunnel delivered three years behind schedule."

"WSDOT is committed to protecting taxpayer money," Millar said. "Knowing the risks associated with tunneling beneath downtown Seattle, we structured our contract with Seattle Tunnel Partners in a way that placed the risks of tunneling on the contractor. We have remained steadfast in our belief that Seattle Tunnel Partners was responsible for the costs of fixing the broken tunneling machine and paying damages for completing the tunnel three years late. We believe the jury got it right and we are grateful for their patience and dedication to ensuring a fair outcome to this case. Since an appeal is possible, we cannot yet say what will become of the damages awarded by the jury."

Media Contact 

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136