Chamber Urges Prioritization of Eastside BRT

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Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

The Bellevue Chamber joined a coalition of more than 30 organizations in sending a letter today to the Sound Transit Board of Directors. The letter encourages the board to prioritize the Stride Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that will connect the communities along I-405 from Burien to Lynnwood and SR 522 from Shoreline to Bothell.

The letter comes as Bellevue and the surrounding Eastside face unprecedented growth as large employers have publicly announced that more than 30,000 new Eastside jobs by 2025. The letter stresses that the timely delivery of these transit projects is vital to the infrastructure of the region.

While Sound Transit and the state have faced financial pitfalls in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter urges the board that BRT should have no issue in prioritization and timely completion. In fact, cost estimates for Stride BRT have decreased since 2019. During the 2021 legislative session, state legislators directed WSDOT to consider phasing and funding alternatives to keep state projects on track. The letter strongly urges the board to “avoid making rash changes to the BRT delivery timeline while the state is still collecting and evaluating important corridor information. Instead, Sound Transit should continue to collaborate with the state in identifying creative solutions that deliver these projects to this region’s residents without delay.”

Furthermore, the expected growth in East King County will be a catalyst for the COVID economic recovery for the larger region. The cosigners write, “We should not hinder this growth by delaying these critical BRT projects that will accommodate this growth in jobs and population expected in just three short years. No one could have anticipated that a global pandemic would challenge the implementation of these plans, but we thank you for your leadership to find creative solutions that keep the Stride BRT projects on track and on schedule.”

The full letter can be found here.

In addition to Bellevue Chamber, the signers include City of Bellevue, City of Bothell, City of Burien, City of Kenmore, City of Kirkland, City of Forest Park, City of Redmond, City of Renton, City of Shoreline, 520 Bar & Grill, ACES Northwest Network, Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC), Amazon, Ascend Hospitality Group, Central, Delivery Express Logistics, Falco Sult, TDR, Inslee Best, McCollough Hill Leary, Microsoft, Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, Pacific Public Affairs, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle Children’s, Seattle King County Realtors, Vulcan, Washington2Advocates, Wallace Properties, and WSP.