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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sound Transit Problems Way Beyond East Link

Many posts on this blog have explained how East Link construction and subsequent operation will devastate Bellevue residents, increase cross-lake congestion and do absolutely nothing to relieve congestion on 405 and I-90 corridors.  To make matters worse, eastside residents will also be saddled with paying a major portion of the huge construction debt and increased operation costs for Sound Transits Central Link extensions to Federal Way and Lynnwood. The reason is the majority of the transportation sales taxes generated on eastside (about 40% of Sound Transit funding) are needed to fund Central Link construction and operation.

Construction costs for the Central Link extensions dwarf the $2.8 billion Sound Transit plans to spend on East Link.  (Their plans to tunnel all the way to Northgate, something they wouldn’t even consider on the east side, is particularly obnoxious.)   In addition, the costs of providing the added equipment and operating costs necessitated by the longer Central Link routes far exceeds any possible revenue from additional riders.  (The fact commute times on light rail will exceed those available on buses doesn’t help).    The resulting financial “black hole” due to construction debt and increased operating subsidies is detailed in other posts (3/9/13, 3/29/13, 4/26/13, 5/01/13 and 6/21/13) posts.

Sound Transit has a moral if not legal obligation to spend east side tax funds on east side transportation improvements.  It's bad enough they're spending that money on East Link rather than on BRT and funding 520 bridge or 405 and I-90 improvements.  What’s even worse is that most of eastside taxes will be perpetually required to fund Central Link extensions and operations they will never use.


  1. It would be great if you would be equally outraged about the continued subsidy of automobility. On average, 50% of the cost of roads is funded by general funds. Gas taxes come nowhere near covering the cost of road maintenance or debt service, let alone expansion.

    Those damn road builders and the respective unions. Not to mention the auto industry. Maybe you should run for Congress and address the domination of road building in the transportation agenda.

    Or hey, how about the airline industry, which collectively has never made a profit in its entire history, and the impact on the environment from flying. Sure I fly long distances. But a lot of the negative impact could be addressed by shifting short trips to high speed rail.


    1. Richard,
      I do appreciate your interest but question most of your comments. My primary interest is convincing people that BRT is the only way to meet future cross-lake commuting needs and that unless Central Link is limited to a trunk between UW and Sea Tac, the construction and operating costs will create a financial "black hole" for the entire area's transportation funds.