Dear Mr. Grausz,
Thank you for your comments regarding the possibility for I-90 tolling. We believe that a new approach is needed to funding the state’s highway maintenance and improvement needs.
We belong to the Rental Housing Association, and they provide us with the monthly news bulletin, “On Site.” In January, on the front page, there is an article captioned “Overall rents flatten; SR-520 tolls impacting Eastside submarkets.” The article goes on to say that it is believed that 520 tolls have adversely impacted the Bothell, Kirkland and Bellevue rents. I would caution that tolling I-90 would have significant impacts on Eastside neighborhoods, would be quite damaging to Mercer Island rentals and would benefit Seattle rentals.
It seems to us that Rep. Clibborn’s proposal to raise the tax on gasoline would allow road improvements to be covered in a fair and equitable manner if the money is allocated to all improvements. As I understood the Seattle Times article, she did not include 520 in her plan. It doesn’t seem fair to us that we might be paying a toll on I-90 and contributing tax money to build a bridge across the Columbia near Portland.
If Lake Washington I-90 is to be tolled, we should toll the bridge on I-90 at Vantage, the I-5 bridge over the ship canal and probably other bridges, too numerous to mention. Mercer Island gains little or nothing from the use of State Route 520 and business and property owners as well as the public in general will be penalized.
We firmly believe that the only fair way to fund the many transportation problems that the state faces is through a state tax or a state registration fee. Bridges, improvements and maintenance are all a part of the overall highway system and the expense should be shared equally by all users. The reason for considering a user fee is that alternate fuel source cars need to pay their fair share.
Maxine and Ted Misselwitz
I recently submitted a letter that stated that the Rental Housing Association published "On Site". Ms. Alice Bartley, Communications Director for RHA was kind enough to correct my error. The Landlord Times "On Site" , though the caption indicates that it services "Seattle - Tacoma - Olympia - Everett" is published by Professional Publishing, Inc, PO Box 30327, Portland, OR 97294. The RHA publication is "Update. My information was taken from the "On-Site" January 2013 publication and, I believe, correctly reflects their article.
There is an even more disturbing aspect of the tolling proposal. As I understand it, the primary purpose of the proposed I-90 toll is to fund the section on SR-520 from Montlake to I-5. This section is not currently tolled and it appears that there is no design and no cost estimate at present. I would question why, since this section is wholly within the City of Seattle and will be of little or no value to Mercer Island and many east side residents, is it being considered that we should pay a lion's share for this construction. If tolling is to be considered, why not start tolling that section of SR-520 immediately?
Sincerely yours, Ted Misslewitz