Mercer Island residents should not feel any guilt or other negative sensitivity from denying the idea that excluding Mercer Island from tolling is asking for too much and not accepting our fair share. When one considers all of the impacts that any tolling of MI traffic would have, it is difficult to see how any tolling of MI traffic would be fair and proportional.
The point is this — if tolls are enacted and Mercer Island-bound traffic receives some special treatment that results in a modified/reduced toll to Mercer Island residents, visitors, vendors, employees and anyone else visiting the Island, Mercer Island residents will still pay a disproportionate share of the cost related to tolling. While others on either side of the bridge will pay only when they use the bridge, Mercer Islanders will pay not only when we use the bridge but also when anyone provides services or labor from off island to Mercer Island residents and the community at large. Those payments will, in many cases, be difficult to quantify, but will be there in nearly everything we pay for on the Island. No other community in this area will be subjected to these costs of doing business. So, when you compare the burden that tolling represents to communities even under a modified tolling accommodation for Mercer Island traffic, Mercer Island residents will still pay a disproportionate share and feel a disproportionate impact from any tolling structure that is placed on the I-90 bridge that tolls Mercer Island traffic.
Before we agree to “special treatment” in return for accepting I-90 tolling, we should be certain we understand the entire impact.