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.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I-90 Tolling EIS Futility

I recently received notice I-90 travel surveys were due to be returned to the Washington State Department of Transportation by Tuesday, November 26.  The survey results will help “inform WSDOT study of the potential effects of different I-90 tolling options between Seattle and Bellevue could have on Mercer Island”. 

All this is part of a WSDOT “comprehensive environmental review of tolling Interstate 90 between I-5 and I-405 to manage traffic and provide funding for construction of the unfunded SR 520 Program from I-5 to Medina”. 
 The WSDOT is apparently receiving $8.32 million of federal and state funding for the environmental review.  It’s not clear what Mercer Island has spent on their “No-Tolls-On I-90” effort.

All of this seems rather bizarre.  The fundamental problem is the 15,000 vehicles a day added to I-90 traffic since 520 tolling began have increased congestion there and reduced 520 tolling revenue.  Obviously one way to alleviate both problems is to add tolls to I-90.  They would provide added revenue, eliminate the incentive for those avoiding tolls to use I-90, and also encourage all I-90 commuters to car pool.  It doesn’t take millions of dollars and months of study to reach that conclusion.

A far better way to deal with the I-90 congestion and 520 funding is for Mercer Island to use the permitting process to stop East Link.   The fact that Sound Transit has blatantly lied for years about the “benefits” of light rail is surely ample legal ground for doing so.  “Persuade” Sound Transit to use the $2.8 billion East Link funding to eliminate the need for tolling on either bridge.   If they fail, not only will their commuters be faced with tolls, their easy commute into Seattle will change forever in 2016 when the I-90 Bridge center roadway is closed down for light rail.

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