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 15, 2016

Clibborn Should Also Go,

House Transportation Committee Chair, Representative Judy Clibborn’s response to the I-405 HOT imbroglio exemplifies the inability of those responsible for dealing with the area's transportation problems.  Her recent comments in the Seattle Times that she had “acquiesced” to changes to tolling “to show people we are hearing them” suggests she doesn’t “hear very well”.   Opening the toll lanes “to general traffic during night, weekends, and holidays – for free” will do nothing to ease their objections.

She refused to even allow a vote to convert one of the two HOT lanes from Bothell to Bellevue to full-time general-purpose (GP) use claiming it “would likely sabotage the whole program”.   The added general-purpose lane could accommodate nearly 5000 vehicles an hour substantially easing the congestion on all the GP lanes.  Less congestion there would reduce the incentive to pay HOT tolls and the HOV lane congestion.   The single HOV lane would also likely ease the problem near Bothell where the two HOV lanes are forced to merge. 

 Clibborn’s veto “suggests” she was more interested in raising revenue rather than reducing congestion.  (The fact her transportation committee allowed the WSDOT to spend $484 million creating the tolls “suggests” a lack of “financial acumen”.)    

She criticized  “the state’s past assurances that a single toll lane in each direction would suffice north of Bothell”.   Yet a PSRC “Stuck in Traffic: 2015 Report” concluded very little of the I-405 delay between Lynnwood and Tukwila occurred before Bothell.  Any increased congestion there is likely due to more vehicles forced to use GP lanes because of +3 HOV requirements. 

Her support for spending $300 million for a 2nd HOT lane to meet “the humongous growth” there is truly absurd.  Use the $300 million to add another GP lane.  Everyone would benefit.  As with the additional Bothell to Bellevue GP lane, the added capacity would reduce GP lane congestion, reducing the incentive and congestion on HOT lane. .   Until they do so they should open the three existing lanes north of Bothell to GP use since it’s probably not practicable to revert to +2HOV to avoid tolls for that portion.  
That's not "likely" to happen with Clibborn.

The bottom line is Clibborn's support for HOT lanes rather than GP lanes is "unfounded".  Like WSDOT Secretary Peterson, she needs to be replaced as head of the legislature's House Transportation Committee.  While others on the committee may have initially approved HOT lanes she seems incapable of recognizing the folly of continuing to do so.  Thus replacing her is the surest way of preventing the WSDOT from implementing HOT lanes between Bellevue and Renton and the other major roadways in the area. 

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