Wednesday, April 1, 2009

LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT: Transit April Fools Joke? Sadly Not! Legislature's Not So Funny Attempt to Stop Light Rail to the Eastside

The Legislature is attempting to jeopardize light rail to the Eastside. Sadly this is no April Fools joke! Over the last week, the state legislature has moved to block light rail to Bellevue and Redmond, both in the Senate and in the House.

Last year YOU voted to pass Proposition 1 which will bring light rail to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond across the I-90 bridge. Sound Transit and the state reached an agreement to jointly fund HOV lanes over the I-90 bridge through the R8A project. Those lanes must be built before the express lanes can be converted to light rail, and that construction must start very soon to keep light rail to the eastside on schedule.

Contact your representative
TODAY and ask them to restore funding for the R8A project.

In order to bring light rail across Lake Washington as soon as possible, Sound Transit doubled their contribution to this project to $90 million, and the state agreed to pay the remaining $24 million. The region shouldered most of the burden of this project, and now the state is backing out of their part - recently released budget proposals in the House and Senate defund or postpone the project to 2017. Your representatives are willing to halt a voter-approved $6 billion public investment in transit that will create jobs, reduce congestion and decrease emissions over $24 million which was already funded by voters as part of the statewide gas tax increase in 2003.

It gets worse! The state also added another roadblock, a study to determine how much the state can charge Sound Transit - meaning us regional voters and taxpayers - to use the I-90 bridge for light rail. YOU the taxpayer has already paid for this bridge, and they are thinking about asking YOU to pay for it again!

Click to tell your legislators to hold up their end of the bargain. Many, like Senator Fred Jarrett, Representative Judy Clibborn from Mercer Island and Speaker Frank Chopp, represent districts that voted decisively for Proposition 1. You made your decision, and it's time for them to represent you!

Contact your representative TODAY and ask them to restore funding for the R8A project. Ask them not overturn the will of the voters who voted overwhelmingly to build a regional rail system.

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