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.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stopping East Link Not Enough

Next week undoubtedly marks the end of my candidacy for Bellevue City Council.  Again it was never about winning but my attempt to attract viewers to this blog.   While I probably could have attracted more “viewers” if I had reached the general election, I won’t miss the “public forums” that entailed.

I have been gratified by the blog’s “audience” which expanded from a few dozen to recently more than 400 weekly with “page views” totaling more than 11,000.   My hope is many will continue to view this blog.  What started as “The Case Against East Link” in May of 2012 now includes more than 115 posts dealing primarily with two Sound Transit blunders.   

They failed to recognize the only way to provide needed cross-lake capacity was to initiate two-way bus only rapid transit on the bridge center roadway.   BRT also has the potential to reduce congestion throughout east side by allowing residents to leave their cars at a P&R near where they live rather than where they work.  East Link has neither the capacity nor the accessibility needed.  The fact it will cost billions, devastate Bellevue, and increase cross-lake congestion makes its selection even more “unfortunate”.    

They failed to recognize that light rail’s high operating costs made any Central Link extension beyond UW and Sea Tac impracticable.  The costs for operating over the routes to Lynnwood and Federal Way along with the costs for construction and additional equipment required will far exceed the increased revenue from additional riders.  If allowed to proceed the extensions will create a perpetual financial “black hole” for the entire areas transportation funds.   

The combination of the two failures has changed the focus of the blog from “Stop East Link Now” to “Stopping All Prop 1 Extensions”.   What Sound Transit officials referred to as “ a gift to our grandchildren” is anything but.   Sound Transit has spent hundreds of millions planning and promoting an East Link light rail system when they could have added a 4th lane to the outer roadway and reduced congestion for everyone.  They’ve spent similar amounts planning Central Link extensions that fail any rationale cost/benefit analysis.

These past “investments” pale in comparison to the “price” the whole region will pay if Sound Transit is allowed to proceed.   Many posts have detailed the impact of East Link construction and subsequent operation on the east side.  Other posts have explained the resulting financial “black hole” from their Central Link extensions.  

What’s absurd is Sound Transit is allowed to “invest” hundreds of millions  (and soon to be billions) on their projects while other transportation funding is in dire straits.   East Link funds could be used to initiate BRT service, eliminate the need for tolls to fund the 520 bridge, and help fund critically needed 405 improvements.   Central Link funds could allow Metro to maintain or add to current service rather than cut it and also help pay for the tunnel.

This attempt to stop the Prop 1 extensions reminds me of an old song, "High Hopes".  I hope I'm not the only one who remembers it.!

1 comment:

  1. wonderful post lovely information, really enjoyyed your post thanks for sharing

    house extensions london