In a May 16,2007 Seattle Times Special Op-Ed, George Kargianis and Phil Talmadge report that:
1. "Seattle-Eastside light rail presents safety problems. A railroad has never been put on a floating bridge anywhere in the world."
2. "By what right would Sound Transit acquire this center corridor? This would constitute a "taking" of state highway property now belonging to all Washington taxpayers."
3. "Utilizing the two center lanes exclusively for light rail would require compensating the state for such a taking."
4. "A more seminal issue would be whether such taking would rise to the level of being in the public interest. Prior to the time of a taking, there should be a finding of public purpose, welfare and/or benefit. Such taking would require approval of both the Washington State Department of Transportation and the attorney general."
5. "The proposed taking of the I-90 center corridor should be viewed for what it really is: an unwarranted, unnecessary, unproductive, wasteful and essentially disruptive use that would contribute to congestion, not alleviate it.
If Sound Transit desires to cross Lake Washington, let it undertake the cost of acquiring the necessary right of ways and building the necessary infrastructure to do so. Then we can see if the taxpaying public thinks this extremely expensive project is worth it."
OK, let's recap.
*Taking a train from land, to a floating bridge, and back to land, has NEVER been successfully accomplished before in transportation planning, WORLDWIDE.
*The corridor that Sound Transit wants to use is situated directly over a major fault, and then would come to land in a LIQUEFACTION ZONE during a major earthquake (Mercer Slough).
*Taking the center lanes from carpool, vanpool, and freight usage constitutes a "TAKING" from the people of Washington by Sound Transit, and the agency would have to PAY FOR that taking, a cost which is not reflected in its currently monolithic budget.
*There would have to be a legal determination that there would be a PUBLIC BENEFIT over and above the benefit that the current use of the lanes already provide for the public, and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna and WSDOT would have to sign off on it.
*The Puget Sound Regional Council's (PSRC) Metropolitan Transportation Plan for 2030 would allocate ONE HALF of transportation dollars for transit to increase the ridership from 3% to 4.5%!!!
"Meanwhile, our roadway system, with the other half of funding, would serve the other 95 percent of travel. The disparity between ridership being served and proposed dollars should be apparent."
Thank you for your analysis, gentlemen. The taxpayers, and folks who appreciate and advocate for the continued quality of life in this region thank you.
George Kargianis is the former chief examiner of the Washington
Utilities and Transportation Commission, former member of the state
Transportation Commission and currently a member of the Eastside
Phil Talmadge is a former state senator and former state Supreme Court justice.