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, July 14, 2013

Seattle Times Not "Credible"

The Seattle Times editorial dismissing my candidacy as “not credible” is no surprise.   I guess that makes us even, because, as many posts on this blog detail (9/05/12, 9/13/12, 10/20/12,11/19/12, 1/06/13, 5/21/13, and 6/25/13) I don’t consider the Times a “credible” newspaper, particularly on transportation issues.  I declined their “Candidate Interview” invitation because my experience last year as a legislative candidate convinced me they had no interest in my Sound Transit concerns (6/13/13 Post).   My BCC candidacy, like last years legislator filing, is not about getting elected but to use the voters pamphlet to attract attention to this blog. 

Neither candidacy would have been necessary if the Times had demonstrated a modicum of interest by assigning someone to at least investigate the Sound Transit problems I detailed in several emails.  Even a cursory analysis would have concluded Sound transit made a monumental blunder when they selected light rail for cross-lake public transit.  A single dedicated bus rapid transit lane can accommodate upwards of 1000 buses an hour, dwarfing the capacity of the 4-car-trains every 7-9 minutes Sound Transit promises for East Link. 

The BRT lanes could surely meet any future growth requirements providing direct bus access from every east side P&R.  Light rail access for most cross-lake commuters will be a South Bellevue P&R with limited capacity and accessibility.  The increased ridership with BRT would have reduced congestion throughout area.  The billions spent on East Link will so nothing to ease 405 and 1-90 congestion and will force cross-lake commuters without light rail access to face ever increasing congestion on the bridge outer roadways.  

A single article in the Times detailing these BRT advantages and the fact it would have cost a tiny fraction of light rail and could have been available in 6 months rather than 10-15 years would have ended East Link years ago and saved the area millions. 

Instead they apparently have no objections to  ST using the next ten years to spend billions on light rail extensions that fail any rational cost/benefit analysis.  East Link will not only devastate parts of Bellevue, it will increase cross-lake congestion.  ST’s Central Link extensions to Federal Way and Lynnwood will burden the entire area with a financial black hole associated with paying off the construction debt and increased subsidies due to higher operating costs with longer routes. 

Their solution to the current transportation-funding crisis was to urge the legislature to enact a 10-cent a gallon increase in gas taxes that will generate about $200-$250 million a year in additional revenue.  Their plea for additional funds seems a little disingenuous when they ignore the more than $2 billion a year ST will begin spending each year on very costly light rail extensions that, in most cases, will increase commute times for riders.

That’s why I don’t consider them  “credible”.

No comments:

Post a Comment