The state transportation secretary has ignored the advice of her own attorney and decided not to fine the contractor building the new Highway 99 tunnel in Seattle.
At issue is not the stoppage of the boring machine known as Bertha, but the failure of Seattle Tunnel Partners to hire enough subcontractors owned by minorities.
The Federal Highway Administration criticized the Washington State Department of Transportation and Seattle Tunnel Partners for not coming close to the goal of awarding 8 percent of the work to minority-owned businesses. The agency even threatened to withhold federal funds from the project.
On Monday, transportation secretary Lynn Peterson found STP in violation of the contract and ordered the contractor to meet or exceed the goals for minority-owned businesses. She did not impose fines.