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SR99 Corridor Coalition Legislative Campaign

The Challenge
The Nisqually earthquake of 2001 set off a quest to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct – a critical part of State Route 99 and one of only two major north-south routes through central Seattle. Carrying 110,000 vehicle trips a day, the viaduct is critical both for commuters and for freight. Complete loss of the route would cost the regional economy $3.4 billion a year and 32,000 jobs.

The initial proposals for replacement would have gridlocked traffic for years during construction or—in the case of a surface-only concept—indefinitely. After studying all the options, stakeholders concluded that only a deep bored tunnel plus added transit could replace the capacity and also maintain through-traffic during construction.

Next, the state legislature had to approve the plan and appropriate the money. The politics were a challenge, as the House Speaker opposed it and many other communities also sought funding for worthy road projects.

 

The Approach
Although the project was initially viewed as a Seattle-only concern, our coalition worked to develop true statewide support. Working closely with a veteran lobbyist who acted as the ‘quarterback’ for other lobbyists from the coalition, our team successfully directed the coalition’s support to key legislators as the bill moved through the process. Our efforts included:

  • Building a broad-based coalition including businesses, associations, environmentalists, civic organizations, and organized labor.

  • Bringing into the coalition unexpected allies, including growers and shippers’ organizations from Eastern Washington, who exercised influence outside the Seattle-area delegation.

  • Placing op-eds and letters to the editor in key legislative districts

  • Securing letters from coalition members to targeted legislators.

  • Creating materials for use in the Legislature

  • Managing a proactive and aggressive presence on media and blog sites

 

The Results
To the surprise of many, the bill passed both houses and was signed into law. The coalition continues today to advocate for the completion of the Tunnel+Transit project.

 

 

Case Study:  Pilots...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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