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The viaduct as Gregoire’s downfall

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Dec. 31, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
December 31, 2008 11:01 pm

Here’s another tidbit from our meeting yesterday with Skip Priest and Mark Miloscia. The Federal Way lawmakers hail from different parties, but they were unanimous in their assessment of Gov. Chris Gregoire. Both think she hasn’t lived up to her potential, and both traced her abdication of the bully pulpit to the Alaskan Way viaduct.

Priest suggested – and Miloscia nodded in agreement – that Gregoire hasn’t shown true leadership since 2005, her first year in office when ironically she was at a disadvantage after getting a late start following a contested election. She pushed through a gas tax that year, but then unable or unwilling to wield the power of her office to break ground on one of the biggest projects in the package, the viaduct.

Negotiations, “visioning” and much dithering have ensued. Another deadline for deciding how to replace the crumbling elevated highway came and went today.

Neither Priest nor Miloscia are much impressed by the proposed budget Gregoire rolled out this month, which Priest said attempts to spread the pain of a $5.7 billion budget shortfall too indiscriminately. They both are watching closely to see if the governor’s plans to reform state government, which she has yet to announce, are more hard-nosed in setting priorities and tying spending on a program’s ability to deliver.

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