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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What's With the PSRC?

The Puget Sound Regional Council is an association of local governments and state agencies in the central Puget Sound region of Washington State. It serves as a forum for developing policies and making decisions about important regional growth and transportation issues.  Its objectives include “Manage and administer transportation, growth, economic development, and data and analysis planning work programs” and “Support the Regional Council’s Transportation Policy Board”.  The PSRC FY2014-2015 budget includes $29.3 million in revenue with $15 million from federal and state grants and $10 million from carry-over of previous grants.  The PSRC includes a staff of 19 to deal with transportation issues.

The PSRC mandate to “Support the Regional Council’s Transportation Policy Board (TPB)” is presumably the reason they’ve provided Sound Transit over $600 million during the last four years to support their Prop 1 light rail extensions.  The fact that the former head of the PSRC TPB, Claudia Balducci, President Pat McCarthy, Vice President John Marchione, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson, are also members of the Sound Transit Board “may” have had some influence on the PSRC funding.

What’s "unfortunate" is none of the 19 transportation staff members has apparently bothered to conduct an independent analysis of the TPB recommendations.  The 8/14/14 post explains the issues involved are relatively straight forward.  Any rational review would quickly conclude ST blundered in not adding the 4th lanes to the I-90 bridge outer roadways some 15 years ago; closing the center roadway would increase bridge congestion; East Link would never have capacity needed for peak commute mass transit: and routing the 484 East Link light rail cars daily to Lynnwood and beyond would bankrupt the areas transportation funding.  In short, the PSRC is supporting TPB recommendations and ST plans that will be a disaster for the entire area.

When I referred the 8/14/14 post to Josh Brown, the Executive Director of the PSRC and Charlie Howard, the Director of the Transportation for PSRC the only response I received was the following from Mr Brown:
             Thanks for passing along your thoughts.  Warm regards.

Not especially encouraging.

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