About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Friday, May 25, 2012

BCC Malfeasance

My final attempt to convince the Bellevue City Council to block East Link

Bellevue City Council,

For more than 3 years I’ve been regularly addressing the council regarding my concerns about East Link.  I’ve done so in an effort to convince the council to refuse to approve the 10 permits identified in Sound Transit 2008 DEIS

During that time I’ve explained in great detail how ST had lied to the voters with their truly absurd claims in the DEIS that a 4-car train every 9 minutes was like adding 10 lanes of freeway across the bridge that would increase cross-lake capacity by 60%.  I frankly didn’t believe anyone could possibly believe that claim.  Apparently I was wrong. 

The council ignored my claims that two-way bus lanes on the center roadways would have 20 times light rail capacity, with access from all east side P&R lots, 10 years sooner, at a fraction of the cost.    You also ignored my suggestion you hire your own consultants to evaluate these claims.   Instead you persisted in totally futile efforts to reroute light rail through Bellevue, which I said was like arguing over which side of the Titanic was safer.

I’ve also explained how ST has lied with promises that adding a 4th lane to the outer roadway for bus and HOV traffic will, to quote the DEIS,  “Travel times across I-90 for vehicles and trucks would also improve or remain similar with East Link”.   I left the council with pages from a 2004 FHWA document that concluded combining buses and HOV traffic on a single lane reduced the capacity resulting in unacceptable congestion.  You apparently ignored that conclusion.

I read recently where one of your constituents is faced with the prospect of light rail literally dividing his back yard in two.  Also that Bellevue is facing such dire financial straits needed capital improvements have been delayed for years.  At the same time the council is agreeing to give ST 200 million to fund a tunnel.  That truly is insane.

I have no idea what motivates the council to go along with this debacle.  I can only conclude that nothing I say will make a difference.   I’ve therefore decided to end my attempts to persuade the council with the firm belief that in the end I will be vindicated.  In 2016 when cross-lake commuters experience the effects of ST shutting down the center roadway, they will not be happy.  When your constituents see ST literally destroying a beautiful part of your city to install light rail and 5000 volt power lines, they will not be happy.  When construction companies dig a huge trench through downtown Bellevue, they will not be happy. What will really enrage them is after 7 years of this congestion and devastation they experience the miniscule benefit from spending 5-6 billion on light rail.

I’ve spent the last three years explaining these facts to the council.  No one has disputed any of them.  Your refusal to use the permitting process to stop it puts a whole new meaning to the term malfeasance. 

Bill Hirt

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