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Testimony regarding ARUP Draft Study

Move Bellevue Forward President Sue Baugh and Vice President Terry Lukens testified to the Bellevue City Council on May 16th with regard to the ARUP study released the prior week.  Their testimony is below.  You can also view the video of their testimony here.

View the ARUP Draft study here.

Testimony of May 16th, 2011

President Sue Baugh's comments:

 Good evening Mayor Davidson and members of the council.

 My name is Sue Baugh and I am the President of Move Bellevue Forward. With me tonight is Terry Lukens, the Vice President of Move Bellevue Forward and a former mayor of Bellevue.

 We are a 501- C4 non partisan, grassroots coalition of residents, business representatives and community leaders.

 We currently have more than 175 members –from all over the city and almost every neighborhood.

 Move Bellevue Forward actively advocates for sustainable growth, long term economic vitality and infrastructure investments that support a strong, diversified community.

 We are here to comment on light rail, the Arup study and the B7R.

 You have spent close to $1 million dollars to find a B7 alignment route that works better than the B2M. The first $200,000 was spent to have consultants review the work of the DEIS and they concluded that the work done by Sound Transit in the DEIS was sound and within industry standards.

 Not satisfied with the results, the council chose to spend MORE taxpayer money – at least $670,000 to fund further studies of the B7 route.  

 Now we have those results.

 Let’s be clear. No matter how the city chooses to spin this report for the public – the Arup study shows that the B7R costs approximately $150 million more than the B2M.   Let me say this again – the B7R still costs $150 million more than the preferred B2M.  And those dollars are critical if we want to get to a tunnel in downtown Bellevue.  

 The Arup study also shows that

·        B7R has more environmental impacts than B2M; 

·        B7R ridership doesn’t change because it is finally recognized that the South Bellevue Park and Ride is critical to ridership.  But you didn't need to spend a dime to know that. The choice is to build a park and ride facility on land already owned by the public or needlessly condemn 12 homes and destroy a single family neighborhood.   

·        B7R actually is noisier for MORE Bellevue residents,

·        B7R has greater negative impacts to Bellevue Way as a result of the A-2 transit center in Enatai;

·        B7R requires crossing Sturtevant Creek AT GRADE which will be a permitting nightmare, and

·        B7R destroys two hotels which are critical to Bellevue’s convention and tourism industry;

 MBF insists that no more Bellevue taxpayer dollars be spent to fund any further consultant work on the B7 alignment to find the answers that you want. It is not going to happen.  It is time to be done with this.

Vice President Terry Lukens' comments:

As we have shared with you in the past, Move Bellevue Forward strongly supports light rail coming to Bellevue. We back the B2M alignment for many reasons, not the least of which is that it costs $150 million less than the B7 or the B7R.  In our past comments we have encouraged the city to immediately move to mitigation discussions on the B2M so that our City’s needs can be included in the FEIS that Sound Transit will publish this summer.  Now is the time to conduct these mitigation discussions with Sound Transit – after the FEIS is simply too late.  We need to get this done now.

 Second, Move Bellevue Forward supports a downtown tunnel. If there is one thing upon which Bellevue has been aligned – both council and the community - it’s a tunnel for downtown. For that to happen Bellevue must contribute financially and follow through on the term sheet you signed with Sound Transit on a 7-0 vote last year. If Bellevue fails to negotiate a MOU with Sound Transit, the Sound Transit board will likely not select a tunnel for downtown and will go with at-grade alignment. If this council wants a tunnel – and you said that you do - it’s time to move away from the more expensive B7R in south Bellevue and get behind a MOU with Sound Transit. 

Continuing on your present course is not consistent with what voters said in 2008; they said they want light rail to come to the Eastside. Continuing this study only leads to more delay, more misdirection of taxpayer money and puts light rail to the Eastside at risk.   The time to act is now – there can be no more delays.

Thank you for your time.