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, August 22, 2015

Let Them Eat "Cake"

The Aug. 21st story in the Times about the I-405 express toll lanes expected to open Sept 27th typifies the approach of those responsible for the area's transportation system.  The Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC), surely at the behest of the WSDOT, has decided their objective is “to keep traffic flowing at 45 mph or better on the HOV lanes”.  Thus, rather than improving the commute for “Drivers on I-405 who experience some of the worst traffic in the state”, they intend to limit HOV lanes to +3HOV or $10 tolls to ensure they maintain that 45 mph speed.  They intend to do so even on the added lane between Bothell and Bellevue where the congestion is the worst.

The WSDOT attitude can best be described by a famous French response to "peasant" concerns, “Let them eat cake”.  They simply ignore the fact the “peasants” in this case have provided much of the money to build the lanes.  Yet requiring +3HOV or $10.00 tolls for the two lanes means those on the general traffic lanes will undoubtedly face even greater congestion than before. 

It would be nice if the “peasants” had the option of public transit.  However, like the WSDOT, Sound Transit seems to have little interest in providing it.  ST532 and ST535, their routes from Everett and Lynnwood, are limited to 15 buses during the 3-hour morning commute.  They could probably fill ten times that number if they chose to provide additional P&R lots and bus routes connecting them to Bellevue and Overlake. 

The bottom line is the WSDOT would rather have the toll money than reduce congestion.  Sound Transit would rather spend their billions on light rail extensions that will do nothing to reduce the area's congestion than a fraction of that on added parking and bus routes.  If allowed to continue the area’s commuters will be “eating cake” for a very long time.

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