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.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Looking Back On 2015 Sound Transit Debacle

The more than 8000 views of the seventy-two 2015 posts on this blog suggests large numbers of people are aware of my opinions about those responsible for the area's transportation problems.   Most of the posts detailed why I believe Sound Transit and WSDOT are both monumentally incompetent and flagrantly mendacious.   Others dealt with the failure of the Bellevue and City of Mercer councils to recognize the devastating effect East Link is going to have on residents; the PSRC continued financial support of Sound Transit despite their own studies showing the futility of Prop 1 light rail extensions; and the Seattle Time’s slavish support for Sound Transit plans to spend billions on "Prop 1 and beyond" light rail extensions that will do absolutely nothing to ease the areas congestion.   This post is limited to Sound Transits Prop 1 and beyond light rail extension debacle. (Others will follow.)

Several posts detail how Sound Transit mendacity regarding environmental issues made a mockery of the whole environmental review process.  The 1/26/15 post “Why BCC Should Rescind Shoreline Permit Approval” explains how ST claims light rail noise would not impact Mercer Slough Park were belied by ST plans to shield properties hundreds of feet away from this non-existent noise.  Without this mendacity the FHWA and the FTA would have recognized East Link noise violated federal environmental laws allowing only a de minimus impact

The 2/21/15 post “Dear Attorney General Ferguson” details how Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation in connivance with the State Environmental Protection Agency used this same “No impact on Mercer Slough Park” claim to perpetrate a monumental fraud that will end forever the quiet solitude of the Mercer Slough Natural Park.  He “declined” to respond.

The 11/06/15 post “The Absurdity of Sound Transit's "Green" Bond Claim” debunked Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine’s claim:
“They (investors) need look no further than these green bonds, which will fund transportation projects that increase commuters' mobility while reducing reliance on cars.” 

(The Sustainalytics firm that supported Sound Transit’s “positive environmental impact” ignored my requests for comments on the post.) 
Some thirty 2015 posts continued the three-year blog effort to expose Sound Transit incompetence. For example the 5/12/15 post “Sound Transit Central Link Debacle” used data from a May 8th PSRC   “Stuck in Traffic: 2015” report showing 2014 HOV travel times between Everett and Seattle had increased to nearly 75 minutes during morning commute and close to 70 minutes in the afternoon; a clear indication too many vehicles were attempting to use the HOV lanes.  The obvious solution would be to reduce the number of vehicles by attracting more car poolers and others to ride buses.  Instead Sound Transit plans to spend billions on Prop 1 Central Link extensions primarily to attract those who currently ride buses. 

Even worse, until recently, they refused to recognize the Central Link extensions would never have the capacity needed to reduce congestion.  Sound Transit essentially admitted the lack of capacity in a 12/05/15 Seattle Times article by adding a second set of tracks to Everett as part of ST3.   The 12/24/15 post “Sound Transit’s House of Cards” characterized the decision to go with two sets of tracks as both incompetent and mendacious. 

That belated light rail capacity recognition is also presumably why Sound Transit abandoned its “Integrated Transit System” (ITS) plan to use East Link to replace all I-90 cross lake buses.   The 11/27/15 post “Sound Transit Integrated Transit Service ‘Crashes and Burns’ " details the resultant loss of 40,000 daily riders and why the lack of light rail access for eastside commuters means most ridership will consist of Seatteites commuting to eastside.  The lack of capacity is also the likely reason Sound Transit abandoned their ST 2040 plans for East Link extensions to Bothell, Issaquah, and Renton in favor of light rail between Totem Lake and Issaquah.  The 12/24/15 post details the absurdity of that suggestion.

Of even more immediate importance, the 12/03/15 post “East Link Insanity Continues” once again (the last of at least 20 posts to do so) details Sound Transit’s monumental incompetence for refusing to recognize that adding the 4th lanes to the I-90 Bridge outer roadway will not make up for the loss of the two lanes on the center roadway when they close it in 2017.  The end result will be bus and car pools along with all the other vehicles will encounter the same congestion on I-90 Bridge as current HOV commuters do on I-5.  It's concerns over the "possibility" the resultant congestion would end any east side support that likely prompted Sound Transit to ask for the ST3 funding in 2016.

The reality is Sound Transit likely "recognizes" these problems.  The fact they fail to publicly "acknowledge" them goes way beyond mere incompetence.

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