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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

ST3 Financing

I presented the following to the Bellevue City Council at their 2/08/16 meeting during the “Communications” portion prior to official Study Session Items.  After viewing the video of the ensuing Sound Transit ST3 financial presentation I was “less than satisfied” with both the council’s questions and the ST response.  For example they never asked why they needed the ST3 funds in 2017.  It also wasn't clear to me how Prop 1 extensions would be affected without ST3 funding or the impact of ST3 rejection.   I’ll leave it to others to view the video to make their own conclusions.

ST3 Financing,
I’m here tonight because your agenda included a Sound Transit presentation on an item of particular interest, ST3 financing.  My understanding is this fall they intend to ask voters for an additional billion dollars a year beginning in 2017 for at least 15 years.  The added funding doubles the $997.9 million they anticipated from all revenue sources in their 2016 budget. 

The additional funds are purportedly needed to fund extensions beyond what voters approved in 2008 with Prop 1.  Yet those extensions won’t be completed until 2023 raising the question as to why the rush.  Ask them tonight.

The most likely reason is ST needs additional money to complete Prop 1 extensions.  Last year they raised $1.3 billion via a loan and an additional $600 million issuing bonds.  Paying off the loan and the interest on the bond will cost them close to $75 million annually.

Prior to issuing the bonds they indicated they would need an additional $6.6B by 2023 to complete the extensions.  Presumably the ST3 funding is intended to cover those expenses.  If so, that raises an even more important question.  What if voters reject ST3?  Do they have a plan B for getting the billion dollars a year (and the $50 million needed annually to pay off in 45 years) for the next 6 years or do they intend to scale back Prop 1?  Could any changes involve East Link?  

Tonight is a perfect opportunity to ask ST for answers. Insist they respond before they begin disrupting our city constructing their tunnel.  Since I don’t hear very well I hope I can look forward to seeing you do so and watching their response either on TV or video.

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