The Sept 20th Bellevue Reporter article on the State Supreme Court rejection of the Freeman light rail lawsuit includes the State Attorney General praising his attorneys’ defense of the project.
The Department of Transportation and Sound Transit developed an effective and fair partnership to upgrade and address traffic issues on the I-90 floating bridge. This agreement respects the law and the Constitution while addressing a critical need.
I can’t comment on the judges decision the Constitution allows the WSDOT/ST “partnership” to use the center roadway for light rail. However the idea that light rail will “upgrade and address traffic issues on the floating bridge” is simply wrong. The WSDOT/ST claimed the center roadway could be used for light rail because their addition of a 4th lane (Alternative R-8A) on the outer roadway would make the center roadway unneeded for vehicles.
They supported that claim by referring to several studies, one of which was documented in "I-90 Two-Way Transit and HOY Operations FEIS [(Final Environmental Impact Statement)] and ROD [(Record of Decision)]”. However page nine of that document included the following:
Alternative R-8A will provide HOV lanes on the outer roadways. It will retain the existing reversible operations on the center roadway, with both lanes operating in the same direction, westbound in the AM and eastbound in the PM. SOVs will only be allowed to use the center roadway between Rainier Avenue in Seattle and Island Crest Way on Mercer Island. The center and outer roadway HOV lanes will likely operate with a 2 + occupants per vehicle restriction
Thus it was clear the study concluded the R8-A Alternative required the center roadway for “vehicle use” and could not be considered “surplus”. I'm no lawyer but the failure of the WSDOT/ST lawyers to read their supporting documentation (or worse) “suggests” malpractice (legal misconduct) from a failure to do “Due Diligence” (The process of providing objective and reliable information).
The judges, understandably unwilling to question the “experts representing the WSDOT”, accepted the State’s attorneys’ contention and okayed light rail installation on the center roadway. Thus further legal action would seem to be warranted.