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.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

BBB East Link Lawsuit "Slam Dunk"

I was pleased when I first learned of the BBB intension to initiate legal action to block East Link because Sound Transit had failed to consider a tunnel from 1-90.  My 6/17/12 blog  “BRT Better Than Tunnel for East Link” suggested BRT was a better alternative because it was both “feasible” and “prudent”.  

When I wrote the blog my only source was the June 13 article in the Seattle Times that dealt only with the tunnel.  The lack of any recent information prompted me to look further.  I found a copy of the actual filing on King5.com, “Lawsuit seeking to block Bellevue light rail extension,” Case 2:12-cv-01019.  It was filed on 6/12/12 in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle by Gendler & Mann LLP on behalf of Building A Better Bellevue and Friends of Enatai.  

It seeks a Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief claiming the Records of Decision (ROD) issued by the U.S. Dept. of Trans., Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and others violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider feasible and prudent alternatives.

The 25 page document describes in detail the needless environmental damage that will be done by the East Link along the route into Bellevue and criticizes Sound Transit for failing to consider bus rapid transit (BRT) for the I-90 Bridge.  I was impressed.  Here was a legal complaint filed in a U.S. District Court raising the same concerns I’ve had for years.   

I emailed Gendler & Mann for a status update but they have not responded.  I’m no lawyer but this seems like an easy case to win (slam dunk?) if the BBB continues with the lawsuit.  Sound Transit’s decision to tunnel from the University to Northgate eliminated my 6/17 post concerns the Bellevue tunnel alternative was not “prudent”.  Presumably Sound Transit would be "persuaded" BRT was the best alternative.  It's unfortunate the Bellevue City Council seems to be ignoring the issue. 

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