Tunnel Gets a Contractor

Tri-State Construction of Bellevue won the bid to build the tunnel from the Bremerton ferry terminal to Burwell. The project is designed to take a good chunk of exiting ferry passengers under downtown, where people are walking.

In the past the project was controversial, with a pretty sizeable group opposing it. The Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce, however, did endorse the concept.

I’m sure we’ll hear the complaints as construction-related detours continue.

Coincidentally, the garage that burned Monday will be one of the structures torn down to make way for the transportation work.

31 thoughts on “Tunnel Gets a Contractor

  1. That damn Golden Tunnel.

    OK, let’s see if I have this right.

    In the first go around on the BREMERTON GOLDEN TUNNEL bid the state said they had $25.0 million for the project.

    The bids came in and the low bid was. . . OOPS $31.7 million, $6.7 million to high. So the state went back to the drawing board.

    Then the state came back (after MUCH thought I’m sure) with a new number that they could afford, $28.0 million.

    So out for bid we go.

    Round two bids came in again with the low bid coming in at the low, low price of just $30.7 million (a FULL $1 million less than their previous low bid).

    So there it is a cool $1 million saved. WOW pick me up I just fell off my chair.


    Mick Horan

  2. First they pour $20 Million into a fountain, and now they pour $30 Million into a hole in the ground. Is there no end to the money they will waste trying to “revitalize” Bremerton.

  3. Jake’s post insinuates something fishy about the contract award and “Bellevue Bozman” (sic) and, in doing so, displays a lack of understanding of the legal constraints on bidding a public project and awarding the contract. Working for a public entity, and being familiar with those very real limitations, I’m confident the process was above-board and the public interest served. Mike’s comment fails to concede the realities of increasing prices for steel, gasoline, and other construction necessities and, like all naysayers, can’t even credit efforts to cut costs – efforts that appear to have been at least modestly successful. Gary seems to suffer from the worst case of “tunnel vision” of all – denying the blatantly-obvious good things that are happening in Bremerton, in spite of curmudgeons like him and, in no small part, due to public projects acting as catalysts for broader (and private) imaginings as to what Bremerton can become.

  4. Also what is the purpose of building a tunnel to get cars out of Bremerton from the ferry faster and they try to encourage shopping in the down town area. You think they would want to try to capture some of that traffic.

  5. If you read the article about the tunnel, Jake, they are allowing for traffic to exit to downtown Bremerton should they drivers want to. It’s for those drivers needing to head out to Hwy 3, Warren Ave., etc. that the tunnel is designed for.

  6. Well Randall in the years following his last election Mayor Bozman has lost my confidence in his leadership. I don’t see Bremerton becoming a better place for the working class and the poor while the mayor is spending all of his time on big yuppie developers and corporate welfare for NASCAR. I think that my town has gone to hell in a hand basket while he spends all of his time on trying to turn a small area into another Bellevue. This isn’t King county.

  7. Jacob,

    You are so full of it. You just get intimidated by a sophisticated politician with a vision. Bozeman is following a formula. Find an anchor (downtown revitalization) and spread out from there. You don’t agree with the formula, ask your buddy Norm about it. He did the same thing in Tacoma. I beg you to dispute the fact that Norm would agree with Bozeman’s methodology.

    By the way, you don’t like the fountain park? Then why are there pictures online of you taking part in the opening festivities? Stick to your video game conferences and roller derby matches. Let the big kids talk about grown up issues.

  8. I find myself in agreement with Jake (again). There are a lot of publicly funded pork projects, but very little private money in the “revitalization”. No one wants to open a retail store where the taxes are high, and the nearest freeway is miles away. People don’t go to downtown Bremerton because it is too difficult to get there, and there is nothing there when you arrive.

  9. Jake, I continue to believe Mayor Bozeman and Representative Dicks are godsends for Bremerton. Any city should be so lucky to have either, and we have both. You’re right – the working class and poor cannot be ignored, but one needn’t see corporatist or elist motives in “revitalization.” Economic development brings increased sales tax revenues which, in turn, provide things such as parks (the poor man’s “symphony” and street maintenance,and maybe even funds for programs specifically targeting the needs of the working class and poor. I suspect that, as the years pass, children of both the rich and the poor will wade in the new fountains, and that will be a great thing.

  10. I think that Bremerton deserves a real economic populist mayor who will focus on raising the quality of life of it’s citizens rather than devoting all of the city’s fund to private yuppie developers.

    It’s 2007 and Bremerton still has a horrible meth problem and crime and 60% of the population can’t afford to own their own housing. We still have drug busts and shootings at our schools and I think the Mayor’s focus has been on on yuppie developers a bit to long for my taste.

    The Mayor has a long ways to go to convince me to give him another term.

  11. There has been no progress on home ownership rates or the average income level during the years of Bozman’s leadership. His programs to raise the average income by bringing over rich King County yuppies and driving out the working class ship yard families by rising housing costs is not helping.

    He had the audacity to claim that Bainbridge and Poulsbo would not be affected by a naval base closure when he was begging the legislature for money for corporate welfare for NASCAR. He wanted to spend city funds on a non-contiguous annexation of the SKIA and believed in the failed principals of trickle down economics.

    Who cares about a park or a store if you can’t ever afford to own your own home?
    I mean it’s a nice park but I would rather be able to afford a home in Kitsap.

  12. Oh Bronson I see you are still bitter about us beating you over Corporate Welfare for NASCAR. You can insult my age all you want but I am older than Derek was when he was elected to State Rep and I am older that future Sr. County Commissioner Josh Brown and GOP state rep candidates Trent England and Hugh Foskett.

  13. People with vision, ideas and solutions have always been criticized by those folks without such attributes.
    Bremerton is on a forward march and in step to her own beat…I applaud the visionaries.
    Sharon O’Hara

  14. Hey Randall Sampson are you running for something? Man it sure sounds like it with your HIGH praise for the Mayor and Dicks.

    One other thing you said “I suspect that, as the years pass, children of both the rich and the poor will wade in the new fountains, and that will be a great thing.” It’s just that the poor WON’T BE ABLE TO LIVE DOWNTOWN in your BIG Condos, even in the basement.

    I think they will be able to use the GOLDEN TUNNEL. . . right?

    Mick Horan

  15. Hey Mike. They are not my “BIG Condos.” I can’t afford to buy one either, but that’s the free market system, seen in every community in America, isn’t it? What’s so bad about that, particularly if it helps to bring some life back to downtown and the waterfront? I’m part of that vast middle-class and, perhaps unlike you, I don’t resent the economic reality that there will always be both those who are better off than I and those who are less fortunate. I’m a liberal Democrat, but not a class antagonist, and so I believe that even those wealthy “BIG Condo” owners will contribute to the betterment of Bremerton and its downtown. The fact that not everyone who will benefit from the new park can live in the new condos, or even downtown, does not detract from the park’s value as an awesome addition to Bremerton’s community-building “public space.”

  16. Randall how do expensive condos on the water front raise home ownership rates for the working class and working poor of Bremerton?

    I am not asking a hypothetical question.

  17. Jake,
    I know you asked Randall, but it is an infusion of money into an area that was lacking. In turn this creates more jobs and supports local small businesses. Potentially putting more money in the pockets of regular guys like you and me.

    I wouldn’t think you would have considered this realistic scenario since you missed it last time (track) for a chance to stand on your soap box.

  18. I agree with Bronson, Jake. While expensive condos on the waterfront do not DIRECTLY affect home ownership rates for those in a lower socio-economic strata (nothing in public policy is that simplistic, especially in matters of economics), money spent in the local economy by those condo owners (on meals, entertainment, clothes, etc.) helps sustain the small business AND the small business employees, and it also contributes to local tax revenues that, in turn, fund social programs, maintain streets, build parks, recruit new businesses (and employees), etc. A resulting vibrant economy can positively affect many “quality of life” factors, including home ownership rates. The condos are simply a piece in a much larger, complicated puzzle, and we can all disagree as to their aesthetics, or whether some other land use might have contributed just as much to the revitalization efforts, but it’s hard, in my opinion, to disagree with the notion that Bozeman, Dicks, et al. are leading Bremerton out of a 30-year economic wilderness. I, for one, find it exciting.

  19. I think that “Trickle Down Economics” for the rich and Voodoo Economics are have completely failed the American middle class since the 1980s.

    I still don’t see any real world results in Bremerton for my generation. I continue to be skeptical about attracting King County Yuppies is going to solve the affordable housing crisis.

    Gentrification never helps the working poor and the middle class in housing costs.

  20. Jake,

    Allow me to don my devil’s advocate cap for a moment. The term “trickle-down economics,” as you probably know, first got legs during the Reagan Administration. But it was applied primarily to reductions in capital gains taxes, corporate taxes and on higher incomes.

    If anything, what Bremerton is done more akin to the old TVA under FDR, even if the goals were different. Where they’re the same is public money was used to build things. Trickle-down economics is the theory that we’ll let you keep more of the money you once spent on taxes and you do what you want with it.

  21. And “Voodoo Economics” was the attack term that Bush Sr. used in the Republican Primary Debate with Reagan in 1980.

    I just think that there are more direct solution to dealing with the problems around town. For example. Bozeman advocated the state to give millions to an out of state corporation in Florida and then he was going to spend tens of millions of Bremerton taxes to annex the area since he said that eventually the increased tax revenue could be used to build a new homeless shelter in Bremerton. The entire thing reek of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Now the out of state corporate welfare and the super expensive annexation of the SKIA could not have been cheaper for the voters and tax payers than actually securing state or federal funding just for a new homeless shelter.

    Bremerton needs commonsense economic populist solutions and not more gentrification.

    The millionaire condos on the water front and bringing more rich yuppies from King county to Bremerton and raise the cost of housing is not going to help be buy a house in Bremerton over the next couple years. I wasn’t around (Or even alive)to buy a house back in the 1960s or whenever a living wage could actually pay for a mortgage. Of course my generation has to get use to getting shafted by the Baby Boomers.


  22. Just to be clear, my only point was about the phrasing of your argument, not the argument itself. Since you like to use jargon and slogans, I thought I’d clear the record on that one.

    I’ve now read the story you linked to emphasize your point that your generation is “generation has to get use to getting shafted by the Baby Boomers.”

    Here’s the quote: “The boomers stand out in defining themselves in terms of their work and have shown a disinclination to get out of the way,” he said.

    So is what you’re saying that I should retire so you can have a job?

  23. No but the generation gap is going to be a major HR problem in the shipyard when the Baby Boomers retire and the demographics shift. The transitional problems are not going to be pretty.

    The “American Dream” was heavily subsidized for decades in the form of the GI-Bill, home loans and educational investments and it doesn’t exist in the same form that it did for a generation ago. Again from that article.

    “In 2004, the median income for a man in his 30s was $35,010, the study says, 12 percent less than for men in their 30s in 1974 — their fathers’ generation”.

    That is only income and doesn’t begin to cover housing costs adjusted for inflation and homeownership rates between the generations. It doesn’t cover the differences in Student Loan debt, predatory lenders and negative saving rates among young people.

    Also back in the 70’s you could actually not starve on the federal minimum wage.

    I have an autographed copy of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X on my bookshelf.

  24. My father’s generation was concerned about fighting a war in Asia and my generation is worried about all the good job opportunities going to Asia.

    It not the result of one issue but a gradual trend over decades that adds up to a pretty bleak economic picture compared to my parent’s generation.

    My generation of workers has seen globalization, outsourcing, long term massive federal debt and deficits, long term trade deficits, anti-worker trade deals (NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, FTAA, ect..) , de-unionized work force, rising higher education costs, devastated outsourced manufacturing base, rising medical costs, energy costs, and an ever soaring housing bubble that never seems to pop.

  25. Personally I would love to one day be able to afford to own a double wide trailer in Kitsap for my girlfriend and our cats once we can finally get rid of our Student loans and medical debt. We both are college educated and work white collar “middle class” full time jobs in Kitsap.

    My dad bought a house when he was five years younger than I am now.


    Partly because many Gen-Xers are buying into the market after the run-up in housing prices began about a decade ago, they tend not to be as moved by deluxe kitchens, huge square footage and “prestige addresses” as their older counterparts are, he said.

    “It’s the trade-off generation. It’s no longer sort of the live-large mindset,” Chung said. “They’re living under different economic realities than their predecessors. They carry 70% more debt than the baby boomers did at that point in their lives because of the cost of housing…. Almost all of that is housing debt.”

    Many are forgoing master suites and separate wings for kids and adults and instead seeking smaller footprints with space designed for family usage rather than individual usage, Chung said.

  26. “What is your specific solution to save us all?”

    I don’t have all the solutions but for a start off the top of my head:

    1. Pass a major first time buyer homestead property tax exemption
    2. Tax the rich for what they owe by implementing the recommendations of the 2002 Gates Commission Report on Taxation in Washington State. Ditch the Washington state Sales tax/B&O tax and adopt a progressive income tax and amend the state constitution to give the legislature the power to reform the tax code.
    3. Pass the renters bill of rights
    4. Balance the federal budget again like we did under President Clinton (the first)
    5. End both state and federal corporate welfare.
    6. Pass Inslee and Cantwell’s new Apollo Energy Project
    7. Get the US off Saudi oil
    8. Pass nationwide Single Payer Universal healthcare (We are the only industrialized western nation on the planet without it and it is a major reason GM moved manufacturing to Canada)
    9. Go back to unilateral trade negotiation like how the founding fathers intended congress to do. Thanks for CAFTA Norm!
    10. End the Iraq occupation now and use the money saved to re-invest in America
    11. Hold all our elected official accountable to promote actual progressive populism like how President Jefferson intended.
    12. Pass real student loan reform
    13. Fully fund higher education and build a 4 year college in Kitsap
    14. Pass predatory lending protection laws and end corporate usury of the poor
    15. Raise the federal minimum wage into a real living wage and then tie it to inflation.
    16. Demand that your political party invest in new voter registration and mobilization to increase the political participation of new generations of voters.
    17. Pay down the National Debt like we did under President Clinton (the first)
    18. End the H1-B/L1 Tech Visa job give away to India and China and get Washington’s tech jobs back!

    That would be a good start. Just off the top of my head.

  27. Jake,

    That is a well intended list with a lot of initiatives that need to be passed, repealed, or implemented. As you know, at the pace of our government (city up to federal) it may take awhile. Your suggestions are a bit large in scale. I think we can all sit back and dream about what life could be like, I do it every time I buy a lottery ticket. But it isn’t very realistic.

    There are some points you make (not saying I agree with them) that are smaller in scale but the majority are out of range. So I ask, what can you and I do to help working class folks get into housing and support their families in 1 to 2 years (and please don’t mention anything about an Olympia legislative session)?

    It comes down to economic development. Everything else should head to the back burner. Although I absolutely think a 4 year is a must. Smack dab in the middle of downtown Bremerton wouldn’t be bad. I know Tacoma isn’t complaining.

  28. Bronson there are so simple fixes. There is no easy way out. It is all part of systemic set of problems that evolved over decades. While I don’t play Lotto I did work for a DotCom back in 2000 and I have plenty of unused stock options. It’s pretty much the same as getting paid in last months loosing lotto ticket.

    The baby boomers are the first generation of Americans to leave the country in a much worse state financially than it was before them and I doubt it is going to change when they hit retirement.

    I seriously doubt that my generation will make it through the first half of the 21th century without at least one major economic collapse and cataclysmic economic crisis.

    Both my grandfather and father had purchased houses by the time they are in my life and they pretty much kept the same employer for over 35+ Years of a career until a secure retirement. That simply is not a realistic option for my generation of workers.

  29. Jacob, it is still realistic to live the dream set forth by the previous generation. We purchased our first house in 1998. We specifically targeted the West Bremerton area. At that time it really did live up to some of its nasty reputation. Despite that we saw the potential this community had to grow and revitalize. Instead of a small cookie cutter house in a planed development, we were able to afford a much larger property at a lower price. We knew that it would take young couples like ourselves (we were in our late 20’s at the time) purchasing these houses, fixing them up and raising our children in them. In the last 9 years we have seen vast improvements to our neighborhood. Abandoned properties have been fixed up and sold to families much like ourselves. Because of many improvements, this last year we have spent more time in the downtown area than we had in all the years prior. My son attends our local school and I am very much involved there with the PTA. Next year my husband will celebrate 20 years at his job. We are also making sure our retirement will be enough to cover us so that we do not have to rely on any government funds, not that there will be any left anyway.

    It is realistic. You just have to make certain choices that at the time might not be the most instantly gratifying but pay off big in the long run. Something our generation seems unable grasp due to what I call the instantly satisfied, please me or else “drive thru” mentality.

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