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.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rogoff’s Lynnwood Mendacity

The Seattle Times, May 25th B1 page article concerning loss of $1.2B in federal funds for the Northgate-to-Lynnwood light rail extension exemplifies Sound Transit CEO Rogoff’s mendacity.  His claim the extension “would add 67,000 daily riders and thousands more from an Everett line" goes way beyond “mere optimism”. The 2016-year-end quarterly ridership report showed approximately 9000 daily riders for the 510-513 Everett-to-Seattle routes; a ~25% increase since 2008, hardly dramatic.

The Sound Transit 2013-ridership report, which separated the Lynnwood-to-Seattle portion of the route, showed it had about half the Everett-to-Seattle total.   Thus the current Lynnwood-to-Northgate transit ridership is presumably around 4500 daily riders, a tiny fraction of Rogoffs 67,000 ridership claim he uses to justify the extension. 

I’ll leave it to others to speculate whether Rogoff’s “optimism” as former head of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) during most of the Obama administration had any affect on the FTA funding approval and subsequent selection as Sound Transit CEO.   The “Trump budget omitting the $1.2B for rail line to Lynnwood” is surely well founded.  Rogoff’s Sound Transit decision to “fight it” typifies their inability to recognize the realities of public transit. 

They simply ignore the Revised Code of Washington (RCW RCW 81.104.100) concerning high capacity transit system planning.  It requires Sound Transit consider, “a do-nothing option and a low capital option that maximizes the current system”.  Added BRT routes along limited access HOV lanes could have easily provided needed additional Northgate-to-Lynnwood transit capacity at a fraction of light rail cost. 
Instead Sound Transit routes their light rail spine through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT), limiting capacity to a fraction of what’s needed to reduce congestion on both I-5 and I-90.  Their attempt to provide added access to even the spine’s limited capacity consist of promising to spend $698 million on 8570 parking stalls beginning in 2024; a fraction of what’s needed.  (Typical of Rogoff's Sound Transit they promise to add about 500 stalls in the Lynnwood area to provide access for the 67,000 riders.)

The bottom line is the May 25th Times article should be a “wake-up” call for the entire area.  CEO Rogoff’s Sound Transit plans for spending the vast majority of their $54B ST3 funds on their “Prop 1 and Beyond” light rail spine will do absolutely nothing to ease the congestion on I-5 and will actually increase I-90 congestion for the vast majority of cross-lake commuters. 

The Trump budget cut may “wake up” CEO Rogoff to the realities of public transit.   Its likely failure to do so is the reason I’m running for County Executive to generate a loud enough voter “alarm” even he will “wake up”.

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