Microsoft took out a full-page color ad in the Seattle Times today opposing any further "delay" on replacing the SR-520 bridge—a response to proposals by a coalition of Seattle state legislators, several Seattle City Council members, neighborhood representatives, and Mayor Mike McGinn, to explore 520 options that could include light rail in the future.

The ad, which probably cost Microsoft between $25,000 and $40,000, says in part:
While there are still some final design issues that need to be resolved with the City of Seattle, we should not let last-minute objections undermine the hard-won agreements already in place for the rest of the project. Doing so would cause yet more delay, increase the cost to taxpayers, and put this vital transportation and economic corridor at risk. The current bridge is 47 years old, and state engineers warn that it could sink in a major storm or earthquake.

Microsoft employees, obviously, rely heavily on the 520 bridge to commute to the software company's campus in Redmond. The state Senate has signed off on the so-called "A+" option, which would include six lanes total, with two lanes for high-occupancy vehicles and buses. McGinn's proposal, which is also supported by House Speaker Frank Chopp, is to come up with a new 520 plan that would incorporate high-capacity transit (light rail or bus-rapid transit) as well as two HOV and two general-purpose lanes.

Microsoft's loud support for the less transit-heavy 520 plan would appear to conflict with Bill Gates' stated commitment to make reducing climate emissions his top philanthropic priority. Cars and trucks are responsible for more than half the carbon emissions in the Puget Sound region.

Today at 1:30, McGinn will provide an update on his 520 proposal.
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