As promised earlier this post details Attorney General Ferguson’s office response to the below email:
Dear Attorney General Ferguson,
As your office suggested the Sound Transit Lead Legal Council responded to my concerns about their apparent failure to comply with RCW 81.104.00 (2) (b) regarding planning for their light rail spine. Does your office concur with the following response?
Project level reviews are not subject to the requirements in RCW 81.104.100. As noted in your complaint, the project level review of the East Link project did include a no-build option. Your presumption that this was due to the requirement in RCW 81.104.100(2)(b) is not correct. As indicated above, this statutory requirement applies to system-wide plans, not project level reviews.
I received the following response from the Attorney General’s office.
Dear Mr. Hirt:
Thank you for your recent e-mail to the office of the Attorney General regarding Sound Transit RCW compliance.
As stated in my prior correspondence to you on March 5, 2009, March 17, 2009, September 26, 2011 and December 26 2014, regarding Sound Transit, our office does not advise or represent regional transit authorities, nor does our office have the role of supervising or correcting the activities of such authorities. Furthermore, I previously pointed out that we are not in a position to provide legal advice or representation to private citizens. The authority of our office may be found in RCW 43.10.030 and RCW 43.10.040.
BRYCE E. Brown
Senior Assistant Attorney General
The earlier letters were Attorney Brown’s response to my concerns Sound Transit had “deceived” voters with claims in their 2008 DEIS that East Link was the “equivalent of up to 10 lanes of freeway” across I-90 Bridge. That WSDOT lawyers had “misled” a federal judge, citing a 2004 FHWA ROD as justifying the claim the R-8A configuration allowed center roadway be used for light rail despite the fact the ROD required maintaining center roadway lanes for vehicles.
That Sound Transit had made a mockery of environmental laws when they told the FTA and FHWA that light rail noise would have no impact on Mercer Slough park while committing to spend millions shielding properties hundreds of feet away and across a major roadway.
While I never asked for any legal advice or representation, Brown’s response raises the question as to who is responsible for “supervising or correcting the activities of such authorities” when it comes to complying with the Revised Code of Washington. An earlier complaint to the Attorney Generals office merited the following response:
Dear William James Hirt,
Thank you for contacting the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Your complaint has been reviewed and it was determined that the issues presented are under the regulatory authority of another agency. Your complaint has been closed accordingly.
We referred your complaint to the following agency. Please contact the identified agency directly with questions about the status of your complaint.
Sound Transit Board of Directors
c/o Board Administrator
401 Jackson S
Seattle, WA 98104
Thus at least the Consumer Protection Division in the Attorney General’s office thought “someone” should respond. The fact they chose to assign that responsibility to Sound Transit is like asking the “fox to protect the chicken house”. Even worse, Sound Transit’s failure to consider “low cost” options will be exacerbated by their failure to recognize the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel limitations on capacity, trivializing any congestion improvements and wrecking havoc on any cost/benefit analysis for not only East Link but the entire light rail spine.