The House Transportation Committee just released their 2009 budget proposal (press release here). Not surprisingly, it includes more delays for R8A, the project that would reconfigure I-90 HOV lanes to make room for East Link Light Rail:
(17) The department shall not sign the final environmental impact
statement for the east link project or negotiate an airspace lease with
sound transit for the use of the Interstate 90 center roadway for
exclusive use by light rail until completion of an independent facility
asset assessment by the joint transportation committee.
You may remember that the last study requested by the state confirmed that the I-90 bridge can handle light rail. Much of our state government remains opposed to building light rail across the water despite overwhelming support from the voters. Perhaps these representatives are under the illusion that if they keep requesting new studies, one will eventually tell them what they want to hear.
Unfortunately there isn’t much time left to influence this budget. There’s a public hearing today at 3:30pm (stream), with an executive session closely following tomorrow at the same time. Full agenda here.
We’ll have more information on all this later tonight.