Highway 99 tunnel project tops public interest group's list of 'highway boondoggles' (PHOTOS)

SEATTLE -- A public interest group based in Washington, D.C. placed the Highway 99 tunnel project at the top of its list of "Highway Boondoggles: Wasted Money and America’s Transportation Future."

On the same day, Washington State Department of Transportation officials gave the media an inside look at Bertha, the stuck Highway 99 tunneling machine.

The boring machine under Seattle's waterfront broke down last December.

The delays to Bertha have pushed back the tunnel's opening by at least a year.

WSDOT officials said Thursday they are optimistic that repairs will be successful.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group recommended that the tunnel should not be built.

Here's an excerpt from the group's report:

"States continue to spend tens of billions of dollars on new or expanded highways that are often not justified in terms of their benefits to the transportation system, or pose serious harm to surrounding communities. In some cases, officials are proposing to tack expensive highway expansions onto necessary repair and reconstruction projects, while other projects represent entirely new construction. Many of these projects began years or decades ago and have continued moving forward with no newer evaluation of whether their existence is justified. Questionable projects poised to absorb billions of scarce transportation dollars include: