But will they listen?

The city has been asking for public input on how to fix the existing traffic problem downtown. When the ferry pulls in loaded with cars, the cars zoom past all the businesses on Pacific Avenue, straight to Burwell Street and directly out of town.

A big influx of vehicles in one pulse creates a traffic snarl, which is an unsightly and aggravating mess for the people who want to get out of their cars and walk around, peruse the shops and spend their money, some city officials contend.

Translation: Mayor Cary Bozeman hates the traffic snarl and wants it to go away.

So, Bozeman chatted with Congressman Norm Dicks, who, with help from Sen. Patty Murray, has secured $28 million in federal funds to fix it.

The solution Bozeman and Dicks came up with was to build an underground tunnel under the city so the traffic flow headed out can get out as quickly as it wants to.

For months, the solution was deemed “the tunnel project.” As presented to City Council, the city could either build a tunnel, come up with a solution on the street surface or do nothing. But doing nothing would cost the city $28 million in federal funds. So that can’t really be an option, can it?

Now, the city is asking the public for input on what is now deemed the Bremerton Transportation Center Access Improvement Project. Translation: the tunnel project, renamed with the idea of giving citizens the impression that their opinions matter.

There is an awful lot of nudge-nudge, wink-winking going on about this project. Too much for anybody’s comfort. The City Council has to listen to public comment, yes. The City Council should take public comment into consideration before making a decision, yes.

The scary thing, however, is that the City Council will make the final decision on it, and that is final. It is no secret Bozeman wants the tunnel. It is no secret that Dicks wants the tunnel.

It is also no secret that the two of them, together, can be charismatic, charming, and very persuasive.

The Bremerton Transportation Center Access Improvement Project, a.k.a., the tunnel project, is a hot potato. The City Council members must consider their options very carefully.

They should consider what is best for the city, yes. But if City Council members really represent the best interests of the citizens, they will vote for an alternative other than the tunnel if only few support it.

Just a thought.

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