Think tank digs into debate over 520 tunnel

The two-day seminar, "State Route 520: A Corridor in Crisis," is being conducted at the Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland by the Discovery Institute, a public-policy group. The seminar continues today and is open to the public....Although the session was privately sponsored, including funding from the McCaw Foundation, it included public analysis that essentially agreed with the private views. "We haven't built roads, we haven't built transit, we haven't built arterials, and we're surprised when we have a congestion problem?" asked Rob Fellows of the state Department of Transportation, who oversaw the Trans-Lake study. Another aim of the sessions is to try to get the area high-tech industry involved, said Bruce Agnew, Discovery Institute director, partly explaining the McCaw Foundation funding. Traditionally, he said, people with property interests in the Highway 520 corridor have been involved in seeking solutions, but groups with economic interests have been absent, partly because the transportation situation is so confusing. Read More ›

Experts study 520 corridor gridlock

"The 520 corridor is the classic bottleneck in what we call the Cascadia region," Discovery Institute Director Bruce Chapman said at yesterday's kick-off session. "Figuring out what to do with it is crucial to long-term regional planning." The aging 520 pontoon bridge now accommodates about 120,000 vehicles on an average weekday, state transportation figures show, with peak-hour flows now about equal in both directions. But even with growth and increased traffic volumes, peak flow counts haven't changed much in recent years, Fellows said. What has: longer periods of heavy traffic along the state route, as a growing population adjusts work and commute schedules before and after rush-hours, he said. "What we're seeing now is volume growth filling in the off-peak periods, accounting for longer periods of congestion," Fellows said.....While today's forum will examine such long-term solutions as building alternate highways and boring a tunnel beneath the lake, strategies that can be implemented in the short term are just as important. Creating more transit and light rail services, examining passenger ferries runs and improving local "feeder" roads could all have immediate effects, said Preston Schiller, a Cascadia Project consultant. "The table is set for addressing the 520 corridor as part of a long-term plan," added Burce Agnew, Cascadia Project manager. "But the big question we're dealing with is, how do you pay for it and how to get public support." Read More ›

The Art of Airlifting

A few days ago, the Pentagon made a wise decision–to purchase 80 McDonnell-Douglas C-17 transport aircraft. The plane has intercontinental range, in-flight refueling capability, can carry heavy equipment, land on crude airfields and get out again with minimal delay and maintenance. With the C-17, McDonnell-Douglas had also managed to reverse (at least temporarily) an old journalistic adage and military complaint: Read More ›

Space Control Blasts Off

In war, von Clausewitz once opined, everything is very simple. But simple things become very difficult. Today, his adage is revalidating in a field that barely existed ten years ago: space control–the new equivalent of sea control and air superiority. As a concept, space control is simple. It means using space for your own military purposes; protecting what you’ve got Read More ›


Today, the United States has no national security strategy worthy of the name. This is a good thing for several reasons, not the least of which is that thinking up new strategies provides employment for several thousand otherwise marginal defense and policy wonks. It keeps the think tanks thinking, the grant makers granting, and the pundits both punning and ditting. Read More ›

Unwritten Laws Ground Star Navy Pilot

The Romans had a proverb. Of all our laws, some are written and some are not. As is often the case with proverbs, their surface simplicity conceals deeper truths. In this instance, at least two. First, written law can’t do it all. There must be other sources of value and discipline and mercy: religion, morality, honor, tradition and common sense. Read More ›

The Military as Metaphor

The United States defense establishment is approaching the verge of open rebellion and internal collapse. If Mr. Clinton is re-elected, it will probably happen in 1997. If Mr. Dole wins, it might take a little longer. At this point, perhaps the only thing that can avert it is getting the American people involved. The most pressing defense issue in this Read More ›

Geyser at Yellowstone
Photo by Ava W at Unsplash

The Origin of Life and the Death of Materialism

Introduction Alfred North Whitehead once said that “when we consider what religion is for mankind and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them.” Whitehead spoke early in this century at a time when most elite intellectuals believed that science Read More ›

Backwards Priorities

Consider the following. 1) The United States has no mortal national enemy. No USSR, no new Axis is likely to appear. 2) It is possible, indeed probable, that sometime within the next few years, thousands of Americans, perhaps many times that number, will be killed or injured by a nuclear, biological, or chemical Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) ? the Read More ›

Joint Vision 2010

Students of the military art have long been familiar with the Iron Law of the Inverse. This great truth holds, among other things, that a service’s leadership effectiveness is inversely proportional to the number of generals available to lead; that combat ferocity is inversely proportional to the quantity of medals awarded; and that a service’s budgetary discipline is inversely proportional Read More ›