The first post on this blog, “The Case Against East Link” (5/19) explains in some detail how the overwhelming majority of commuters, both cross-lake as well as those on the eastside, will face increased travel times because of East Link. All the money and time ST has spent and will continue to spend over the next 10 years will devastate parts of Bellevue, gridlock I-90 bridge, and do absolutely nothing to relieve eastside congestion.
The big winners from this debacle are the construction companies represented by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington, ABCWW, and their labor unions. Both groups have profited mightily from past light rail contracts and can look forward to several more years of profits if East Link is allowed to proceed. The other benefactors have been the media who have received extensive revenue from ST for “Ride the Waves” advertisements and other promotions.
It’s not clear what if any actions the ABCWW and unions have done to garner support for East Link. What is clear is that any competent transportation consultant would have selected bus rapid transit for the I-90 bridge center roadway. BRT was far superior to light rail in terms of capacity, accessibility, cost, and availability. Yet ST never considered BRT as the “no-build” alternative to light rail in their DEIS.
Equally amazing, the supposed transportation experts, the WSDOT has been an active partner in East Link, going so far as to lie to a Kittitas judge about the ability of the 4th lane on the outer roadway to accommodate all the bus and HOV traffic when the center roadway is closed off to install light rail (see 7/19 post).
My emails to all the eastside legislators, several of whom were on the various transportation committees, were essentially ignored except for Rep. Hunter’s response “Get over it, Sound Transit is going to install light rail across Lake Washington Bridge come ‘hell or high water”.
My own candidacy was an attempt to attract more public interest to ST problems. None of the other eastside candidates in the recent election expressed any concern. Countless emails to the media including Seattle Times, Bellevue Reporter, King, Kiro, and Komo TV news, along with several radio commentators were also ignored.
Anyone on this long list could have ended East Link a long time ago by speaking out about the fact the ST decision to select light rail for cross-lake public transit was an historic blunder. The fact it hasn’t happened and that ST apparently believes everyone will continue to turn a “blind eye” towards East Link problems for several more years does raise questions as to “why”. It doesn’t take much to be suspicious of the influence of the big beneficiary.