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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sound Transit Monumentally Incompetent

(Last night I presented the following at the Bellevue City Council Meeting.  I went home to better hear the Sound Transit response but was unable to view the video until late this morning.  As usual, neither the council nor ST responded to my concerns.  (I say "as usual" because they've both been doing so for nearly 6 years.)  They both still refuse to deal with the fact ST mendacity has made a mockery of the entire environment review process and that East Link's lack of capacity will inevitably lead to gridlock on the I-90 bridge.   Typical of ST they were more concerned about naming the various light rail stations than providing definitive plans to accommodate commuters on the nearly 700 cars using the South Bellevue P&R they plan to shut down next March.

Unfortunately,  the 3-minute limit on presentations didn’t allow me to also include the fact the entire area will pay for ST incompetence.  Not only will its construction costs create a huge financial debt, its operating costs will require ST to provide up to $285M annually to cover the shortfall between operating costs and fare box revenue.  (See 1/22/15 post)   Its way past time to end this debacle.)

Sound Transit Monumentally Incompetent
My name is Bill Hirt and I’m here tonight in a last attempt to persuade the council to rescind Sound Transit’s East Link Shoreline permit.  I don’t hear very well so after my last appearance I was forced to view the ST presentation at home.

I was particularly interested in Mr. Lewis’s comments about the importance of the FTA and FHA East Link approval.   What he neglected to mention was the fact their approval was based on the ST Supplemental DEIS.   That was where ST claimed East Link would have no effect on noise levels in the park or substantially affect park use, the park’s features, or diminish the park’s value.  Thus it’s not surprising both organizations chose to approve East Link.  Yet ST has spent years and is here again tonight to explain how they intend to spend millions to mitigate this non-existent noise.  The bottom line is ST mendacity has made a mockery of the whole environmental review process.

ST policies, however, go way beyond such blatant mendacity.  For example, cross-lake commuters have endured years of increased congestion because ST refused to add 4th lanes to the I-90 outer roadways some15 years ago.  I suspect they did so because of concerns they would be forced to initiate two-way bus only service on the center roadway.  Transit service they knew would be far superior to light rail at a fraction of the cost.  Instead their 2008 DEIS never considered the two-way lanes as the “no-build” option. 

It gets worse.  In 2017, they’ll close the I-90 center roadway even though they know the 4th lanes they’ll have finally added won’t make up for the loss of the two center roadway lanes.   They’ll spend another two billion over the next 6 years wrecking havoc on commuters and those living along the route completing East Link.   

When it does begin service it will consist of one 4-car train every 8 minutes.  What ST promised in 2008 would be the equivalent of 10 lanes of freeway, will instead be the equivalent of one 74-seat light rail car every two minutes.  Even worse ST intends to force all transit riders to use this miniscule capacity to commute into and out of Seattle.  The end result will be total gridlock on I-90.

In conclusion, its bad enough ST is mendacious, its far worse they’re also monumentally incompetent.  Your constituents and the entire east side will pay a heavy price if you allow them to continue.  For one last time I ask you to end this debacle “rescind the shoreline permit”.

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