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Russia’s economic crisis could have been avoided

The Russian government and people, awash with money, were convinced their economy was invulnerable to the world financial crisis. By September, Russia’s gold reserves stood at $581 billion. The federal budget seemed strong, salaries high, economic reforms successful and government investments wise. In hindsight, it was all too noticeably “Potemkin” and vulnerable. When foreign markets crashed and oil prices fell, Read More ›

Deep Bored Tunnel To Replace Alaskan Way Viaduct – Latest Information

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Executive Ron Sims in January 2009 proposed to replace the seismically vulnerable Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle's downtown waterfront on State Route 99 with an inland deep bored tunnel. Legislation authorizing and providing substantial funding for the tunnel passed the state senate and house, and on May 12 was signed into law by Gov. Gregoire. The tunnel is expected to cost $1.2 to $2.2 billion, most likely $1.9 billion, including a cushion for cost overruns. The legislation provides $2.8 billion for tunnel construction and Viaduct replacement. Other, related projects - funded by the city, county and Port of Seattle - would bring the total package's cost to $4.2 billion.  Here is the bill, as approved. Links to media coverage and key documents follow. Deep Bored Tunnel Bill Signed Into Law: News Round-up, 5/13/09 Tunnel FAQs, Cascadia Center House OKs SR 99 Tunnel - News & Commentary, 4/22-24/09 Yakima Valley Fruit Growers Support Deep Bore Tunnel, KIRO-AM & Seattle P-I, 4/13/09 "Deep Bore Tunnel Is Best Replacement Option," Yakima Herald-Republic, 4/12/09 99 Corridor Coalition Bored Tunnel Program Update, 3/26/09 "The Time Has Come To Replace Viaduct With Tunnel, Seattle Times, 3/26/09 "Officials Give Viaduct Replacement Details To Ballard Residents," Seattle P-I, 3/23/09 "Expert: Viaduct Bored Tunnel Would Be World Class Project," Seattle P-I, 3/20/09 "Senate Passes Bill To Replace Viaduct With Tunnel," Seattle Times, 3/4/09 SR 99 Deep Bored Tunnel Project Fact Sheets And Maps, Washington State Department Of Transportation, 2/24/09 "WSDOT: Deep Bored Tunnel Would Be Safer In Earthquake," KOMO-AM 1000, 1/31/09 WSDOT: No Comparison Between Boston's "Big Dig" And SR 99 Tunnel, Tacoma News Tribune, 1/26/09 "The Viaduct Decision's Next Step: Tolling," Crosscut, 1/20/09 Deep Bored Tunnel Chosen: Jan.13-16 Media & Govt. Links (Radio, TV, Newspapers, State of WA, more) - includes Cascadia statement More here.   Read More ›

Why We Call Them Human Rights

Rights, properly understood, are moral entitlements embodied in law to protect all people. They are not earned: Rights come as part of the package of being a member of the human race. This principle was most eloquently enunciated in the Declaration of Independence’s assertion that we are all created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the Read More ›

Toll-booth-free Tolling On SR 520 And I-90

The State Route 520 Tolling Implementation Committee’s “November Scenario Evaluation” document (pdf) released last week shows that the most robust regional financing for replacing the dangerously sub-par 520 bridge comes from time-variable tolling starting in 2010 and tolling the parallel I-90 span across Lake Washington, starting in 2010 or 2016. Tolling in this key east-west corridor would be done on Read More ›