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Tue February 8, 2011
Tuesday morning's headlines
Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:
- Feds Need to Help I-5 Mess near Lewis-McChord Base
- Bellevue Business Giant Resigns Over Eastside Light Rail
- Election Day for Pierce Transit, Some Schools
Pentagon Should Help Fix JBLM Traffic Mess: Report
A new report on the impact of military bases to their local communities recommends the Pentagon pony up for traffic improvements - including I-5 upgrades - along Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The National Research Council study is detailed by reporter Adam Ashton in The News Tribune:
The report shows that the U.S. military is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to improve Lewis-McChord, but not on off-base roadwork. The military spent $1.8 billion on capital projects at the base over the past three years, and it plans to spend another $2 billion over the next five.
JBLM is expected to grow by another 15,000 people - soldiers and their families - over the next five years. Pierce County and surrounding cities are moving ahead with road improvements for the area often clogged by high traffic volume, and have been working closely with base leaders. KPLU News reported on the growth problems and shortage of funds to handle this issue in a recent story.
Bellevue's Anti-Light Rail 'Voice' Resigns Post
There's a buzz this morning over Kemper Freeman's resignation from the Bellevue Downtown Association. The Seattle Times' Nancy Bartley reports the business giant's departure from the organization his father founded comes after the BDA's backing of a light rail plan:
"We have different agendas. I'm not as excited about it as I have been in the past. I'm slow to change things," he said.
Freeman has been the standard bearer for opposition to light rail on the Eastside, favoring improved bus services and added freeway capacity. Freeman, the owner of the Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place developments, tells The Times his decision is not a 'vendetta' against the group, but shows their interests are not aligned.
Are You Voting Today?
This is the second Tuesday in February, a day local school districts and municipalities bring ballot measures to voters. Pierce County voters are making decisions about Pierce Transit funding. In Jefferson County, voters are being asked to fund a $1.1 million measure to maintain current service levels, according to the Peninsula Daily News' Paige Dickerson.
Many others are voting on school levy and bond measures, including these school districts (not a complete list):
- Lake Washington
- Snoqualmie Valley
- Port Angeles
- Port Townsend
- Quillayute Valley
- Central Kitsap