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, May 3, 2015

Sound Transit Avoids East Link Legal "Challenge"

The May 1st Bellevue Reporter article announcing “No more East Link challenges left” is another example of how Sound Transit is able to avoid any serious challenge to East Link. What’s “troubling” is the fact that none of the petitioners could be found to explain why they chose to withdraw their challenge.  What’s “typical” were ST comments regarding their decision.

“We felt like the shoreline board did a good job granting us the permits and we did quite a bit of work on the EIS”


Sound Transit has a healthy mitigation plan to counter impacts from future light rail construction and operation”

The “quite a bit of work on the EIS” apparently refers to the East Link Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact (SDEIS) document. Chapter 3, "Environmental Consequences" included the following regarding the current light rail route into Bellevue:

1)  Preferred Alternative B2M would not impact noise levels in the park.
2)  Preferred Alternative B2M would not substantially affect park use, the park’s features, activities, and attributes, or diminish the park’s value.    

Thus, it’s no surprise the shoreline board granted the permits. 

It should have been a relatively easy case for the petitioners to point out ST plans to spend millions shielding homes across a major roadway and hundreds of feet from the tracks would belie their claims “B2M would not impact noise levels in the park”.   It would be “interesting” to know what caused them to withdraw their challenge.

As far as their “healthy mitigation plan to counter impacts”, ST has yet to propose a viable plan to “mitigate” their closure of the South Bellevue P&R next March.  There’s even concern as to what sort of cross-lake light rail service, if any, East Link will provide, and how they intend to “mitigate” the lack of capacity needed to accommodate all the bus riders they intend to transfer to light rail at South Bellevue and Mercer Island.

In conclusion, while East Link has no legal challenges left, the “challenge” for transit commuters begins only a few months away with P&R closure.  In 2017, I-90 center roadway closure will “challenge” all cross-lake commuters, and the deficits when East Link begins operating in 2023 will “challenge” the entire area’s transportation funding.

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