11:30pm: Shocker! The council approves the term sheet. See the above blog post.

11:08pm: The city council seems likely to reject the term sheet.

10:45pm: Davidson’s amendment failed. The underlying term sheet is may not pass tonight, which would mean that the Sound Transit Board may not move forward on studying C9T, meaning that Sound Transit may move forward on just an at-grade alignment (C11A) that is unpopular in Bellevue but fits within the East Link budget with no city contribution.

10:36pm: Davidson’s “compromise” measure isn’t finding popular support for his motion, meaning the underlying term sheet may not pass this evening. The term sheet is important because it clears the way for Bellevue city staff to offer $150mn funding for the tunnel. Without a financial commitment like that — which is still unbinding, but rather an advance in negotiations — the Sound Transit Board is unlikely to move forward on the studying C9T alignment when it selects its preferred East Link alignment.

9:46pm: Mayor Davidson puts forward a motion that has the city council approve the term sheet, but only if B7 is carried through preliminary engineering. However, the city would pay for that preliminary engineering which would cost about $2.2 million. This is a compromise plan from Davidson, since before now it looked like the council was going to vote down the term sheet. It’s a gambit to move B7 — a plan unpopular with the ST board — forward, along with B2M.

9:24pm: City staff is presenting a term sheet to the city council. City staff support the term sheet, which stipulates a framework to work with Sound Transit to work together on the alignment and fund the C9T tunnel alignment and other sections of East Link within Bellevue. It would direct Bellevue city staff to present alternative options be unbinding, with a final agreement with Sound Transit on the segment B and C alignments to be decided in Spring 2011. The term sheet would mostly describe a framework for continuing future negotiations.

Updated at 8:10pm: There is a live stream of the meeting online. The East Link vote is item 11a on the agenda (pdf), so the meeting may run very late.

We reported last week that Bellevue intends to support the C9T tunnel alignment through downtown. The Bellevue City Council will be voting tonight on a measure favoring the alignment (pdf) during a meeting that starts at 8pm, and promising $150mn in city contributions to the tunnel. The vote would direct the city staff to create a term sheet with Sound Transit regarding the C9T alignment.

However, we’ve learned to take nothing for granted when it comes to East Link. There is no assurance that the term sheet will actually pass the council. We’ll let you know what happens tonight.

22 Replies to “Bellevue Council to Vote on C9T Tonight”

  1. is this vote binding? or is it really just a recommendation to Sound Transit?

  2. Sound Transit has stated that identifying funding for the Bellevue-preferred light rail tunnel is a remaining issue. City of Bellevue, I understand, has suggestions.

    But I’m also hearing that some Bellevue taxpayers feel they are already contributing to Seattle’s 6-mile subway tunnel north from Pine Street toward Northgate — partially because of the way $1.3 billion in two Federal New Starts grants to Sound Transit have been completely dedicated to constructing Seattle’s light rail.

    So therefore, why can’t the North King (Seattle) sub-area kick in a bit more for Bellevue’s little tunnel?

    After all, isn’t the Bellevue tunnel a benefit to the future Microsoft workers residing in Seattle who are eventually, supposedly going to ride the train out to their office campus? Not to mention the Seattle-centric orientation of the entire Sound Transit network — Sounder, Link except for the Tacoma streetcar, and most of the Regional Express buses.

    1. The North King subarea doesn’t have extra money laying around to give to the East subarea. With the reduction in tax revenue due to the recession all of Sound Transit’s projects will be feeling the pinch. The 2 New Starts grants that Sound Transit has received are both for Sound Move projects that were approved years ago, Central Link and University Link, and are obviously dedicated to those projects. Sound Transit expects to be receiving a similar proportion of East Link’s cost from the Feds. How Bellevue taxpayers “feel” about the situation is irrelevant, Sound Transit has subarea equity rules to deal specifically with situations like this.

      1. And if I recall correctly, it was the Eastside that wanted those subarea equity rules in the first place. Pretty hypocritical.

    2. Isn’t the ST subarea equity a legal definition? I don’t think it’s a matter of whether I as a Seattle voter am feeling generous or not.

    3. Bellevue residents contributed less federal funding to U link than Seattle residents, because Seattle has a larger federal tax base. That’s a dumb argument.

      East Link may get federal funds depending on the quality of the project.

      1. Will east link received Federal money? If so, the argument is moot. If not, why not?

        I think, following John’s comment about tax base perhaps somewhere like New York or Chicago might have more of a claim than Bellevue on extra ST funds.

    4. Sound Transit’s rail system provides service to Seattle because that’s where much of the transit ridership is. Having the first link line run in the Eastside makes no sense.

      It’s strange to say that ST express is Seattle centric. Northgate and the UW get almost no St express service, West Seattle gets one not so frequent line, the NW part of the city gets nothing, and the SE has no ST express buses at all either. Most of the ST express buses that go to Seattle skip the rest of the city and go strait into Downtown, serving the suburbs primarily.

    5. The reason U Link got so much money is because it is such a good project. Its kind of hard to say that because a project was so good we should punish that project by taking money from it.

    6. “I’m also hearing that some Bellevue taxpayers feel they are already contributing to Seattle’s 6-mile subway tunnel north from Pine Street toward Northgate”

      The line has two ends. The subway tunnel they’re complaining about is the other end of East Link. Bellevue residents going to UW or Northgate will benefit from the tunnel.

  3. The only possible tunnel ‘unfairness’ I can see is that wasn’t the DSTT paid for by all of KC Metro, but then basically given to the North King Subarea?

    However that’s just from what I’ve picked up here and there and don’t mind being corrected. ;)

    1. It’s hard to say, because the Metro we have today isn’t the Metro we had when the tunnel was built. Regardless, the tunnel was actually the idea of Eastside politicians who didn’t want their constituents to lose their one-seat ride to Seattle. The city was initially against having a tunnel and just wanted to build an electric trolley busway through the middle of town with terminals at each end, but this meant that commuters would have to transfer from express buses to trolleybuses at either end. Thus the tunnel, with its convenient freeway connections at both ends, was born.

      I’m not 100% positive, but I don’t think that ST has actually taken ownership of the tunnel. I’m pretty sure that it’s still the property of Metro while buses are still running in it.

  4. Holy Crap! Is this woman even breathing? Does she not realize she is speaking as fast as a drug commercial narrator when he is rattling off a disclaimer?

  5. So to appease a handful of people in Surrey Downs the city is willing to spend $2.2 million on preliminary engineering for an alignment that Sound Transit will likely never approve? The city council sinks further into ridiculousness every time they meet. It would be cheaper just to buy all the houses along 112th from SE 8th to Main and turn them into parkland.

  6. If the Bellevue City Council wants to be unreasonable, can’t ST just move forward with the all-at-grade alignment that puts East Link running through Bellevue TC? Future city councils will allow the signalization to happen, as there would be too many Bellevue denizens riding East Link for the council to go against the whole bunch of them.

  7. I almost feel sorry for the City Manager having to explain things over and over to guys like Wallace who only hear and understand what they want to, or at least what Kemper tells them they should care about.

  8. After all that, the Mayor ends up a “Yes” vote? I take back my Floyd the Barber comparison.

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