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, May 16, 2016

Candidate's Statement

(As promised today I filed as a candidate for governor and submitted the following for “Voters Pamphlet”.   As with my 4 previous candidacies, I did so with no expectation (or desire) of being elected, but as my way to “make a difference” by attracting attention to this blog.  My hope is voters will be receptive to posts dealing with the failure of the Sound Transit light rail extensions to deal with Seattle area congestion and the insanity of WSDOT plans to spend hundreds of millions for widespread use of HOT lanes to reduce statewide congestion.  Both need to be "redirected".  I also intend to delve into the efficacy of limiting CO2 emissions as the way to limit "climate change" and attempts to use "renewable energy" to meet the area's energy needs.

Candidate’s Statement
My candidacy is an attempt to emulate the little girl in the Hans Christian Anderson fable telling the villagers the “King has no clothes”.   That contrary to what the “weavers” (Sound Transit and WSDOT) and the “wise men” (the media, city councils, many legislators, and others) tell the “villagers” (the rest of us) light rail is no “magic carpet”. That, unlike BART, the Seattle tunnel limits light rail capacity to the point where none of the Prop 1 extensions will have the capacity needed to significantly reduce the area’s congestion.

It’s the culmination of an effort that began more than 7 years ago to expose the fantasy in the Sound Transit/WSDOT East Link 2008 DEIS.  It’s evolved into critiques of all of Sound Transit's Prop 1 light rail extensions and their failure to address the area’s congestion problems.  The ST3 vote this fall for projects that don’t begin until 2023 “suggests” Sound Transit needs the funds for Prop 1 despite claims to the contrary.  Rejecting ST3 may force Sound Transit to “reconsider” the extensions.  My goal is to convince the “villagers” to do just that.

I urge voters from throughout the state who care about congestion to visit my blog http://stopeastlinknow.blogspot.com.  Since its inception the more than 300 posts have attracted more than 34,000 page views without a single serious rebuttal.  The posts opine not only about the ST/WSDOT “weavers” but the “wise men” who, if not cheering them on, have quietly acquiesced.   

They provide details as to why the current Prop 1 extensions won’t work and how for a fraction of the time and money BRT could provide public transit that allows far more commuters to leave their cars near where they “live” rather than where they “work”, reducing congestion for everyone.

BS (1961), MS (1962), Engineering, Iowa State University

My appreciation of the benefits from public transit was fostered by commuting primarily by bus during my last 15 years at Boeing.  After retiring I traveled extensively throughout UK and Europe where I experienced how transit works in London and all the major cities in Europe.  Last year I “experienced” subways in New York and Toronto.  Unfortunately Sound Transit refuses to recognize the limits imposed on light rail by the Seattle tunnel prevent the Prop 1 extensions from ever having the capacity needed to replicate those transit systems.


  1. Bill,
    Good statement. The only feasible ways to stop East Link at this stage is to focus on the following two issues:
    1. The technical issue of the 'track bridge' has not been resolved, to either WSDOT's nor USDOT's (FHwA) satisfaction. ST says that they did the "Pueblo" track test, but that was three years ago and no one has found an actual technical report from that excercise, which transported one or two of ST's Light Rail Cars to the USDOT's Pueblo, CO. test track where all transit related technology is tested, built a simulated test site using jacks and other devices to simulate the Lake Washington wave and wind action, and ran the trains on the test track. We heard that it was "a success" from then ST CEO Joni Earl, and the problem is solved. It is not. No report, no acceptance by WSDOT or USDOT, no indication that it will work, Parsons Brinkerhoff recently got a $20 million change order on their $30+ million contract dated over 7 years ago to solve this and other issues. They can't get this one to go away.
    2. During the 2016 Legislative Session ST tried to get the Senate Transportation Committee to approve the 'negotiated' ST/WSDOT Air Lease for the Center Roadway on I-90, for 15% of it's real value (based on the idea that the USDOT paid 85% of the cost to build it while WSDOT paid 15%; therefore the value for WSDOT to lease is the 15%). The trouble for ST is that Senator Curtis King asked the WSDOT staff in attendance at the hearing what the state's standard practice is for other leases or sale of 'surplus property' (something WSDOT not infrequently finds themselves with, and for which there are statutory on WAC rules about that they follow routinely). The answer was that they use 100% of the assessed value, even when there was USDOT funds involved (WSDOT 'owns' I-90, with federal strings on it's use and design, etc. as an Interstate Highway). Senator King saw 'no reason to change policies now' at that hearing. The bill did not pass out of committee and the ST/WSDOT lease remains un resolved. This is a Billion + $ issue, and would blow a hole in ST's East Link Budget if it does not go ST's way. The previously negotiated 70 year lease amount was in the $130 million range.

    Both of these issues would be well suited to Public Disclosure Request from the Sound Transit Board.

  2. Hotmamasdad,
    Thank you for your comments. I agree with your comments about light rail/I-90 floating bridge compatibility problems (See 5/05/16 post). I'm less knowledgeable about the air lease issues.