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Eastside Mayors Endorse Bellevue-Sound Transit Agreement

Mayors Joan McBride of Kirkland, Ava Frisinger of Issaquah, Jim Pearman of Mercer Island and John Marchione of Redmond sign a letter encouraging the Bellevue City Council to sign off on an East Link agreement with Sound Transit.

Mayor Jim Pearman has joined fellow Eastside mayors from Issaquah, Redmond, and Kirkland in encouraging the Bellevue City Council to sign off on an agreement with Sound Transit about the East Link light rail line.

The Bellevue City Council is expected to make a decision on the proposed agreement at its 6 p.m. meeting tonight at Bellevue City Hall.

The letter, from the desk of Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and signed off by Jim Pearman of Mercer Island, John Marchione of Redmond and Joan McBride of Kirkland, says that delays caused by disagreement between Bellevue and Sound Transit will impact how soon other Eastside residents could use light rail.

"Each one of us would like to see light rail come to our City. The decisions made by Bellevue now will impact when our communities will see the benefit of the regional investment to light rail. If Bellevue cannot come to agreement with Sound Transit, we must assume that East Link's opening will be significantly delayed and that expansion of the system in a ST3 package could be at risk."

The letter in its entirety is attached to this article.

The Bellevue City Council is slated to decide tonight whether to approve an agreement that outlines how the city and the transit agency would cover the additional $276 million that a tunnel through downtown Bellevue would add to the $2.5 billion cost of the East Link project.

While the Eastside mayors have encouraged the city to sign off on the project, others in Bellevue, bolstered by a private research firm, continue to encourage the city to reconsider approval of Sound Transit's chosen route along Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue Southeast, according to this story in the Seattle Times.

The city, which held a public hearing on the issue last week, has .

Though the binding agreement would the organizations will split the cost, Bellevue city officials have also angled to include provisions on how the transit agency will minimize the impacts to the Surrey Downs, Enatai and other neighborhoods that fall along the above-ground path of the East Link line.

If you go

The is scheduled from 6-10 p.m. at There are two executive sessions that are closed to the public scheduled at 6 p.m. which is scheduled to last 45 minutes. The council meetings are broadcast live on Bellevue Television (cable channel 21). Video of the meetings can be viewed any time online from Bellevue TV.

East Link coverage:

Jim Horn November 15, 2011 at 05:02 PM
i find it interesting that the Mayors of these cities would encourage Bellevue to sign off on an agreement with Sound Transit relative to Eastlink when the constitutionality of Eastlink is yet to be decided in the Courts. It would seem that the more prudent approach would be to wait for a court decision on the legality of Eastlink before signing off on any agreement, particularly when the case is now scheduled to be heard on January 25th. This court case should be of interest to all Mercer Islanders since a favorable outcome would ensure Mercer Island's continued use of the center roadway and avoid the breakdown of the general purpose lanes resulting from converting the center roadway to light rail and forcing Mercer Island traffic into the general purpose lanes.
Ray Burt November 15, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Also interesting is that the Bellevue City Council voted 7-0 in favor -- especially given the diverse views of the council.
Kendall Watson November 15, 2011 at 06:37 PM
I think it will be very interesting to see just how Mercer Island voters decided on I-1125 that asked voters to decide on that constitutional question you mention, Jim, and the related question of using tolling to fund various projects.
Kendall Watson November 15, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Clearly, the state has spoken — and especially King County — in the negative: "No" is currently leading by 5%.
Jim Horn November 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Kendall, I-1125 was not about the constitutional issue, that will be decided in the court as pointed out by Councilman Mike Cero in his recent editorial. According to Up Front with Robert Mac, about 80% of the voters agreed with I-1125 except for the part that said the Legislature should set the tolls. Even then it took $2.7 million of advertising raise enough doubt in voter's minds to bring the vote to just under 50%. No advertising money was spent in support of the Initiative. We are a nation of laws and voters do not decide constitutional issues except by changing the constitution. The constitution usually protects the rights of minorities. Thus when the lynch mob wants to unanimously hang someone, the law steps in to protect the individual and guarantee a right to a fair trial. In this particular case the law should protect the taxpayers by insuring that gas tax money is used for it's intended purpose. If people think differently today, then they need to start a process to change the constitution.
Kendall Watson November 15, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Quoting from I-1125, Sec. 3: "State government, the department of transportation, and other agencies may not transfer or use gas-tax- funded or toll-funded lanes on state highways for non-highway purposes." This isn't the constitutional issue that you're referring to?
Ray Burt November 16, 2011 at 04:43 AM
"No advertising money was spent in support of the Initiative." According to the PDC, more than $1.2 million was spent in support of passing I-1125. Was all that to pay for signatures and salaries and a website?
Jim Horn November 16, 2011 at 08:44 AM
In response to Kendall, yes I-1125 had a restatement of the 18th amendment in Sec 3 but it also had many other sections. Since the initiative had many sections, I don't believe it is accurate to state that "voters decided on I-1125 that asked voters to decide on that constitutional question." In fact, Robert Mak found in his telephone polling that 80% of the voters supported the 18th amendment. According to Mak, the issue in the initiative that voters disagreed with was the section that required the Legislature to set the tolls. His telephone poll is probably the best effort to date put forth to understand what issues in the initiative voters liked and what issues they didn't. In any case, an initiative cannot decide a constitutional issue no matter how the people vote on it. Only the courts or a constitutional amendment can do that. In response to Ray Burt, yes the $1.2 million was spent to collect the signatures required to get it on the ballot. The signature collection started late resulting in a greater cost to collect the signatures in the short time available. Please understand that I had no direct involvement with I-1125. i am one of the plaintiffs in the court case.
Kendall Watson November 16, 2011 at 09:11 AM
Thanks Jim. I agree that it wasn't the only question before voters in that initiative, as I stated before and got lost in the partial quote excerpted above. Voters who prefer driving cars on Mercer Island must be particularly sensitive to tolling, as they could be a captive audience if I-90 tolling comes to pass. Mercer Island occasionally bucks the King County trend, as I've observed before — such as reaffirming the candy/soda tax and bottled water tax last year, only to see them fail elsewhere. This is another one of those initiatives where Islanders (I'll bet) felt like they had a lot at stake.

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