HEAT ADVISORY today in Western Washington

$54 billion light rail plan gains support on the Eastside

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BELLEVUE, Wash. — The $54 billion plan to expand light rail in the region is gaining more support.

Three major Eastside cities are now on board with light rail expansion – Redmond, Issaquah and Bellevue.  Those councils have voted to support the plan, even though the full build-out will take nearly three decades.

“This area is going to have a million more people by that time,” said Bellevue Mayor John Stokes.  “We’re not going to be able to build a lot more roads, so we have to have capacity.”

Opponents argue that any more light rail is too expansive and will take decades to complete.  They claim that the nearly $400 extra a household is too expensive and can be much better spent on other transportation options.

Even Bellevue leaders are split.  Though the City Council supports the project, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce opposes it.