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Letter | Myths concerning I-90 tolling
There are many misconceptions concerning tolling, including the following.
Myth #1 — The decision has already been made that a toll will be imposed. This is absolutely untrue. The state Legislature must approve the plan to toll I-90, and also the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Neither has done so to date.
Myth #2 — The proposed I-90 toll is to pay off construction associated with the new SR-520 project. This explanation is dubious since (1) the two roads are not connected, (2) such a toll is outside the guidelines of the FHWA, and (3) there is no indication by anyone that the I-90 toll would come to an end when the SR-520 project is paid off. Why not an end to the toll if the two projects are truly interconnected?
Myth #3 — Mercer Islanders will be exempt from the toll. Absolutely no basis for this assertion exists, and it is completely absent from all WSDOT documents. Even if true, huge problems would remain since the people who come to Mercer Island every day for school, employment, charitable work, shopping and worship would still be tolled. Impacts upon the faith community alone would be great as nearly 50 percent of the attenders in our houses of worship come from off the Island. Thus, exempting Mercer Island residents does not solve our problems.
Myth #4 — Tolling I-90 will improve the conditions on both bridges because it will diminish the tolls on SR-520 and it will diminish the traffic on I-90. There is absolutely no evidence that an I-90 toll will decrease tolls on SR-520. Traffic on I-90 increased only 11 percent (mostly in off-peak hours) when tolling started on SR-520, and a decrease in traffic of a few percent would not likely be a significant improvement.
In conclusion, I-90 tolling should be viewed for what it is: a new and forever tax imposed as a general effort by the state to raise money. This tax would be especially detrimental to our water-surrounded and highway-bound community. All such tolls must be rejected.