• NAACP: Fire transportation secretary over tunnel contract Failure

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    SEATTLE, Wash. - A Seattle-area NAACP leader called on Gov.  Jay Inslee on Monday, to fire Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson because not enough work on the SR99 tunnel beneath Seattle has gone to businesses owned by women and minorities.

    Last week, Peterson found Seattle Tunnel Partners in breach of contract and ordered increased oversight.

    But she did not fine the contractor, as her own attorney urged her to do.

    "If she can't seriously enforce a federally funded program that's mandatory inclusion, then she's not the right person for the job," said Sheley Secrest of the NAACP.

    The NAACP has already called on the state to fire the contractor.

    A Federal Highway Administration investigation found STP set up barriers for companies owned by women and minorities, and fell far short of the goal of awarding them 8 percent of the work.

    Earlier this month, Peterson told KIRO 7, "We're still hoping to meet the goal and maybe, hopefully, exceed it."

    On Monday, a spokeswoman for  Inslee said the governor fully supports Peterson's actions to hold Seattle Tunnel Partners accountable.

    Although the state maintains the right to impose fines or withhold payments, Inslee's office says that could lead to a lawsuit which would not be in best interest of the taxpayers.

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