Kevin Wallace, the freshman Bellevue City Council member who has proposed a Bellevue light-rail alignment along I-405, avoiding downtown Bellevue, has hired consultant Rollin Fatland and former Seattle mayor Charley Royer to help him promote his preferred alignment, which Wallace has dubbed the “Vision Line.”
Fatland said Wallace is paying him and Royer out of his own pocket; he would not say how much he is being paid.
The full Publicola report notes that Wallace would likely be prohibited from voting on his preferred alignment if he were a Seattle city councilmember due to that city’s more zealous ethics laws, but Bellevue has more lax requirements. Wallace’s company owns some property near the C14E alignment that would probably have to be purchased if his alignment were selected. (For what it’s worth, I doubt Wallace’s motivation is to get his property purchased at market-rate since he could probably accomplish that more quickly and with much less scrutiny without having Sound Transit be the purchaser.)
If Wallace’s proposed alignment is so good, why are we seeing a self-funded PR blitz promoting it? Well, while Wallace has brought forward a cheaper plan in a constructive manner, I think many would conclude just isn’t worth the trade-offs in accessibility, transit-oriented development, and ridership. No amount of lobbying is going to change those fundamentals.