Letters to the Editor

Letter | Concern about tolling on I-90

On March 5, the Seattle Times ran a very alarming article regarding proposed tolling on I-90.

I believe that tolling on I-90 must be vigorously resisted by all Mercer Islanders, Mercer Island businesses and our legislators. It’s a tax with another name for everyone that works on the Island and lives off-Island, as well as to those of us who live here and move around.

It will hurt Island businesses as people will not cross the lake to come here for anything commercial, entertainment, etc. Would you buy a house on Mercer Island, given a choice, if a toll to go anywhere was unavoidable?

I would appreciate the Reporter taking an editorial position against tolling I-90, inviting public comment and leading the charge to resist tolling, should your readers concur with my concerns. It’s time to sound the alarm and do something about it.

Excerpts from the Seattle Times article:

“Meanwhile, proposed budget language in the Legislature moves closer to tolling I-90, by telling DOT to conduct an ‘environmental review’ and to take public comment, both requirements to eventually enact tolls on that route.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state treasurer Jim McIntire have said I-90 tolls are needed to close a $2 billion finance gap on Highway 520, and lawmakers have chatted about the idea for years.

Pro-toll legislators often have cited the 520 diversion problem “rather than merely the need to raise money” as a reason to toll I-90.

So far this year, I-90 has enough room to soak up newly diverted cars, but that bridge is nearing its “sweet spot,” where much more traffic would cause a speed and capacity breakdown, said INRIX’s Trepanier.

“From a traffic-engineering perspective it makes a lot of sense to toll both,” said Trepanier. “You get a lot of efficiency, so you get balance. You don’t just want to put it on the backs of people who drive 520. You spread the pain evenly.”

Write your legislator, the governor, WSDOT, raise a fuss, or we’ll get tolled!

Paul Calderon


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