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.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bellevue City Council Should Reject ST3

I presented the following to the Bellevue City Council in an attempt to persuade them to oppose the Sound Transit’s ST3 funding proposal as a way to stop East Link (and eventually Central Link extensions).  I had the feeling they thought I was some sort of Don Quixote "chasing after windmills".   Hopefully readers will think differently. 

Bellevue City Council Should Reject ST3

Sound Transit Executive Director, Ric Ilgenfritz opined during the Feb 8th presentation to the council that since ST3 will benefith the entire region, the entire region should pay despite where the funds were spent. 

The reality is if Sound Transit were  interested in “benefiting” eastside commuters there wouldn’t be a Prop 1 East Link extension, let alone an ST3 proposal.  15 years ago they could have used eastside funds to add 4th lanes to the I-90 Bridge outer roadways.  Other eastside funds could have been used to divide the center roadway into inbound and outbound BRT lanes, something they are belatedly proposing for I-405.  BRT capacity would have dwarfed any foreseeable transit needs. 

With BRT on I-90 there would have been no East Link.  Eastside funds could have been spent adding thousands of parking spaces to existing and new P&R lots to provide access to BRT. There would have been no need to devastate the route into Bellevue, disrupt the city with tunnel construction, or close the I-90 Bridge center roadway next year for light rail.  Closure that will likely result in gridlock for vehicles on bridge outer roadways.

In 2023, when East Link begins operation, the vast majority of eastside commuters won’t even have access to it.  It will increase not decrease cross-lake congestion.  It will do absolutely nothing to ease the current I-90 congestion near Eastgate let alone accommodate future growth.  No one can reasonably argue that eastside residents will “benefit” from the hundreds of millions they’ve already contributed to the $3.6 billion Sound Transit will spend on East Link.  Asking them to contribute a major portion of the additional billion dollars each year for a minimum of 15 years to an ST3 proposal for light rail between Totem Lake and Issaquah is practically obscene. 

In conclusion, Sound Transit claims they’ll only need $600 million of the $6 billion they’ll get from ST3 by 2023 for completing Prop 1.  They could easily save far more than that by diverting East Link funds from light rail construction to I-90 BRT and adding P&R capacity.  The entire area would “benefit”.  The council should encourage them to do so by rejecting ST3. 

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