HOV Lanes or Light Rail? Your Thoughts Please

There’s a fiery new debate about light rail over Mercer Island. Judy Clibborn is standing right next to it with a can of kerosine. If you haven’t heard, Judy is proposing that we not begin light rail until we have HOV lanes across I-90 (the express lanes are to be used for the light rail). Of course, if you’ve seen the system map, you know that I-90 is the critical link in the regional light rail plan, connecting Seattle and the East side.
express-lanes-mercer-islandvlight-rail-mercer-island

It may seem that since voters approved Light Rail in Prop 1 last November, and since it’s mostly funded, it’s a done deal. That does not seem to be the case.

The main issue seems to be timing: does light rail happen before or after there’s an alternate HOV solution for Mercer Island? But in politics, a delay can often lead to major changes or death for a plan. The Seattle Times suggests that’s the motivation of many in the state legislature.

I wish I could add a cool survey plugin, but we’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way. Add a comment if you’re in favor of HOV lanes first, or just getting on with light rail over I-90.

Photo credit: To potunasalad for I-90 and Bejan for light rail.

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3 responses to “HOV Lanes or Light Rail? Your Thoughts Please

  1. It’s state law that they can’t start building light rail till the outer HOV lanes are done.

    What’s at issue is that the state is committed to chipping in a fraction of the cost of those HOV lanes, and the current transportation budget doesn’t fully fund this in the biennium.

    For rail construction to be completed in 2020 as promised, the HOV project has to be complete by about 2015, and for that to happen the portion that the state funds has to be done by about 2012.

  2. mercerislandblogger

    Martin, thanks for that clarification. There’s a lot of info out there but a lot of emotions too, and getting to the heart of the issue is difficult. By the way, Seattle Transit Blog is excellent– thanks for stopping by.

  3. Pingback: Light Rail AND Carpool Lanes? « Surrounded By Water: A Mercer Island Blog

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