Letters to the Editor

Erwin opposes tolls, seeks alternative

I-90 tolling continues to be a hot topic because of its impact on everyone who lives or works on the Island. I am pleased to support the multi-pronged strategy to defeat tolling, which is promoted by the city’s I-90 Steering Committee, and believe we need to elect other City Council members who, like Dan Grausz, Debbie Bertlin and Mayor Bruce Bassett, can put more than words behind this fight. That is why I urge a vote for Rich Erwin for City Council position #6.

Rich is staunchly opposed to I-90 tolling, but, more than that, he is actively seeking alternatives to the state’s transportation woes. Financing transportation infrastructure is a regional and a statewide problem. All parties involved need to understand that there are better options available than expecting Mercer Island to carry the burden. Rich has worked with and established connections to the same key regional players with whom we’ll have this debate.

High on the list of needs is ensuring that the significant economic costs of I-90 tolling to Mercer Island remain front and center in the upcoming Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The impact on school employees, firefighters, small business owners and residents cannot be understated. But more must be done.

Among other ideas, Rich insists that we secure representation on the transportation sub-committee of the Puget Sound Regional Council. While the PSRC does not create law, it is where all the municipalities and county representatives of King, Snohomish and Pierce counties come together to discuss alternatives and craft solutions to our common transportation issues. This body represents interests of the cities and counties directly impacted by I-90 access. Rich appreciates the strategic value of continuing to build coalitions with these municipal neighbors whose interests we share while we work closely with national and state leaders.

A 26-year Boeing engineer, Rich has the skills to do this. He is an experienced leader with a long history of success in bringing together coalitions of people with both diverse and common interests. To that end, he brings a considerable advantage in support of the city’s strategy.

As a member of the Mercer Island School Board, I know how fortunate we are to have high quality teachers, administrators, and staff who love what they do. We need to make sure they retain free access to the Island so they can keep doing it. I urge you to vote for Rich Erwin and support the City Council in defeating I-90 tolling.

Pat Braman


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