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, September 23, 2013

WSDOT/ST Lawyers Fail to do "Due Diligence"

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.

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