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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WSDOT I-90 Toll Proposal Not the Answer for SR520

Last week’s Bellevue Reporter (1/18) headline “State to talk I-90 tolls at Bellevue meeting” should be no surprise.   I-90 tolls however are not the way to ease I-90 congestion or to fund SR520 construction.  First of all revenue from forcing I-90 commuters to pay tolls for a bridge they’ll never use will still be far short of what’s required.  Second, Eastside residents already pay more than their “fair” share with the .9% sales tax that accounts for about 40% of all Sound Transit revenue. 

Unfortunately nearly all that money has been and will continue to be spent for several more years on Sound Transit’s Central Link.  Much of the money ST has spent on the eastside has been wasted promoting a flawed East Link light rail proposal.  

ST and the WSDOT need to recognize their decision to ignore bus rapid transit (BRT) for center roadway was a monumental blunder.  They’ve not only wasted millions, they’ve forced cross-lake commuters to needlessly endure years of increased congestion.  Allowing East Link to proceed will result in additional billions wasted on a light rail system that will devastate parts of Bellevue, inevitably result in gridlock on 1-90 Bridge, and do nothing to ease congestion along SR405 and I-90 corridors. (Unless BBB or Freeman/ETA suits stop East Link)

The East Link money, again much of which comes from the eastside, should be used to pay for the SR520 corridor construction and eliminate tolls on either bridge.  If ST and WSDOT fail to recognize the need for doing so the eastside legislators, rather than approving their request for adding 1-90 tolls, should use their oversight authority to insist on this action.  Doing so will benefit the entire eastside.  It’s way past time for them to stop kowtowing to ST and WSDOT demands and start representing their constituents.

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