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October 9, 2009 at 10:20 AM

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Joe Mallahan criticizes Mike McGinn's tunnel poll

Posted by Emily Heffter

This post has been updated.

Joe Mallahan accused his opponent in the Seattle mayor's race, Mike McGinn, of "dishonest tactics" this week because of a telephone poll McGinn is running. Mallahan says the poll isn't really seeking voters' opinions about the proposed deep-bore tunnel on the waterfront. Mallahan says the poll is a "push poll" that intends to persuade voters by presenting negative information to sway voters' opinions.

McGinn said this morning at a news conference that the poll is legitimate. "It was research," he said.

McGinn's campaign released the poll questions to me this afternoon. The poll tests two statements about the tunnel, both of which are based on some assumptions the McGinn campaign has made.

The first is about taxes. The poll says:

The tunnel plan requires $930 million in new city taxes, including $65 million in higher car tabs, a $200 million increase in parking taxes, $252 million in higher utility rates, and a $300 million increase in property taxes.

Those are the taxes that have been proposed for a tunnel, but nothing's in writing, and the 2010 budget doesn't propose any of those fees.

Then the poll says:

In addition to raising taxes, the tunnel plan has been criticized for proposing tolls of six dollars, each way, on the new highway.

No one has figured out the specifics of proposed tolling on the road, but the Washington Department of Transportation estimates tolling at $3 each way. (The Seattle PI reported yesterday that WSDOT is consideringtolls as high as $4.20.)McGinn's campaign has analyzed WSDOT's data and believes the road won't carry as many cars as projected, so it believes tolls of as much as $6 each way will be necessary.

McGinn said he hasn't yet seen results of the poll.

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Jim Brunner
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