The following is the text of the testimony that was presented by Eastside Rail Now! regarding ST2 at the Sound Transit Board meeting on April 12, 2007:
Eastside Rail Now! was formed by a group of ordinary citizens in Bellevue in large part because we are concerned that ST2 will not be approved by the voters in its present form.
As our name implies, we strongly want rail transit for the Eastside. And we want it as quickly as possible. We do not want to have to wait until the year 2027, or even 2016.
Providing a high quality transportation alternative on the Eastside is one of the most important things that the region could do to help fight global warming. Most scientists now believe that global warming is real, and that it could be catastrophic.
It has been shown in city after city that people strongly prefer rail to busses. They will use it, and it will lead to the development of high density, walkable neighborhoods around the stations. We on the Eastside are no different.
Moreover, we want rail transit at the lowest possible cost and with the least possible disruption to our neighborhoods.
We are fortunate that we already have an operating railroad on the Eastside. We are also fortunate that it parallels the I-405 freeway, which is possibly the most congested in the entire Northwest. Congestion continues to worsen despite already having spent billions of dollars on widening projects. At the same time, the quality of our once pristine air continues to deteriorate. Although many more billions are planned for further widening, congestion and pollution will likely just get worse.
We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the railroad and use it for transit, as cities all across the U.S. have been doing. Utilizing this railroad would allow the start of rail transit at a much lower cost and far quicker than constructing an entirely new right of way.
We strongly believe that using this railroad for transit should be incorporated into ST2. It could make a huge difference both in support for ST2 on the Eastside and in helping to solve our growing transportation and environmental problems.
We also propose that a simple pilot transit service be started on the existing track right away, even if the speed is not particularly fast. This would demonstrate to the Eastside that Sound Transit is really committed to launching a full-fledged rail transit service as quickly as possible.
Many bad mistakes have been made over the years in transportation planning in the region. Now we have a once in a lifetime opportunity with ST2 and the Eastside railroad. Let's not squander this outstanding opportunity and add to the list.
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This page created April 12, 2007.
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