The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Business Community Letter to Governor Re SR 520 Bridge

January 24, 2008

The Honorable Christine Gregoire
State of Washington
Legislative Building
Olympia, WA 98504
Dear Governor Gregoire and Secretary Hammond:

Paula Hammond
P.O. Box 47900
Olympia, WA 98504

The defeat of Proposition One last November did nothing to reduce congestion and safety
concerns with major transportation corridors throughout the Puget Sound region, and we cannot afford to allow it produce a political gridlock that creates further delay in finding solutions to our region’s transportation challenges.

We are part of a coalition of major private and public sector organizations urging you to develop a plan around the SR520 corridor that can be implemented within the next decade to provide immediate benefits to local citizens while simultaneously laying the foundation to accommodate future needs that will develop as the region continues to grow. We believe that immediate
priority should be placed on cost-efficient projects to improve safety, provide congestion relief, expand capacity to support economic development, and provide transit to underserved areas, all of which can help restore the public’s confidence in the ability of state, regional and local agencies to effectively plan and deliver transportation infrastructure. At the same time, each of these projects should be planned, designed and built with a focus not only on immediate needs,
but also with an eye to the efficient expansion of service or capacity to meet future needs.

Specifically, we support you taking the following steps:
> Initiate SR520 replacement, enhancement, and improved connections:
Immediately begin design work for a new six-lane replacement bridge with a
pontoon structure that can accommodate future high-capacity transit in its own right-of-way. This includes designs for associated roadway on the corridor
between I-5 and I-405, including expansion capacity to accommodate future high capacity transit (HCT) in its own right of way and completing the HOV loop
around the Puget Sound.
o Plan for improved interchanges including HOV lanes from Montlake to I-5 in
addition to the 4 general purpose lanes and a Westside interchange solution that
optimizes transfers between the Link system and Eastside HOV/HCT.
o Adopt a long-term financing plan, including creation of an explicit state policy on
tolling authority, implementation and the use of resulting toll revenues for regional
infrastructure like SR520 and I-90.
o Identify and implement short-term improvements that increase capacity and
traffic flow such as the 520 Eastside corridor to SR202, including improved driver notification and HOV functionality.

Transportation Letter
Page Two

** Implement a rail-convertible, bus rapid transit (BRT) system on the Eastside:
o Implement a BRT system operating on potentially HOV lanes grade-separated on
SR520, I-405 and I-90 to serve and connect major employment centers on the
Eastside, with initial operation within five years of funding decisions.
o Make investments at strategic choke points to allow development of a transit
station in Redmond-Overlake and BRT access through the Bellevue CBD within
ten years and to lay the foundation for other transit-oriented projects in Eastside
communities such as Redmond, Kirkland and Issaquah.
** Provide more efficient governance and oversight:
o Establish a regional governance structure that assures coordinated planning,
funding, construction and operation among transportation agencies in critical
corridors such as SR520, I-5, I-405, I-90 and SR167.
o Streamline the permitting process for projects of statewide significance and
evaluate whether contracting out some project elements can provide budget or timeline advantages.
o Give priority to those projects that are ready to be implemented and will show
immediate results to local citizens.
o Confirm performance measures to use in the project approval process and to
track and report progress.
o Identify additional state funds for central Puget Sound roads and highways of
regional significance.
o Additional state funds will be necessary to supplement regional funds for projects
of regional significance such as I-167, I-405 and I-5.
 Expand the use of public-private partnerships as a funding mechanism:
o Analyze feasibility and develop an agreement for a coordinated public-private
partnership that would utilize the BNSF rail corridor to bring commuter rail
solutions to the Eastside quickly and economically, encouraging transit-oriented
development and with an appropriate mix of public benefits.
o Carefully examine other opportunities to use public-private partnerships as a way
to supplement public financing of transportation infrastructure and drive faster
project delivery.
The Puget Sound region continues to experience significant growth in population and economic activity, and will continue to be a key driver of the statewide economy. Bellevue, Redmond and the greater Eastside area have grown to the point that King County and the Puget Sound region now boast multiple hubs of economic activity. We simply cannot afford to allow an inadequate transportation system to choke off the movement of employees, customers and products
between these hubs and throughout the broader region. A lack of progress in addressing these problems will put the area’s continuing economic health at risk.
A number of local government agencies have taken steps over the past several years to
address some of their most pressing and localized needs. These efforts, while understandable and effective at the local level, collectively contribute to the public’s perception that our region’s transportation and transit planning, funding and operations are disjointed and inefficient. Strong vision and leadership will be required to replace this piecemeal approach with one that
establishes clear priorities, sets understandable performance metrics, demonstrates meaningful progress toward meeting immediate needs, and builds a foundation to accommodate future
requirements. Therefore, we urge you to take immediate action as outlined in this letter, and we stand ready to help you in any way we can throughout the process.

Transportation Letter
Page Three
Thank you for your attention and consideration of this most important issue. Sincerely,

Betty Nokes Steve Mullin Steve Leahy
President & CEO CEO CEO
Bellevue Chamber Washington Roundtable Greater Seattle Chamber

Chris Falco, CPA Jim Warjone Christine Hoffmann
Chair Chair President & CEO
Bellevue Chamber Board Seattle Chamber Board Redmond Chamber

Bill Vadino Bill Taylor Ken Meyer
Executive Director President & CEO CEO
Kirkland Chamber Renton Chamber WSA

c: Cindy Zehnder
Marty Brown
Ron Judd
Senate Transportation Committee
House Transportation Committee
41st, 48th, 45th, 5th District Legislators

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