Letters to the Editor

Yes on Prop 1 will not help fight against tolls

Would the passage of Proposition 1 stop tolling on I-90? No. Voting for Proposition 1 actually increases the likelihood of I-90 tolls.

The State needs a funding mechanism to pay for the unfunded/untolled portion of the western portion of SR-520. I trust our federal leaders will recognize the poor policy in tolling an interstate to pay for a state highway and not authorize I-90 tolls. I trust our state leaders will recognize the increased congestion tolling I-90 will cause on I-405, I-5 and the southern portion of the Lake. The best mechanism to pay for SR-520 is for our State Legislature to pass an 11 cent gas tax increase.

Understandably, passing Proposition 1 decreases the likelihood King County voters will also vote for a follow-on gas tax increase.

Proposition 1 consists of a $60 car tab and a 1 percent sales tax increase, raising $1.5 billion over 10 years. Initially, over half will go to Metro, and a third to cities. A small amount is set aside for county roads.

King County voters burdened with a $60 car tab and a transportation sales tax increase are unlikely to support additional transportation taxes. I appreciate King County Leaders with the chutzpah to jump to the “front of the line,” but Proposition 1 unnecessarily jeopardizes a gas tax increase- an increase that is critical in keeping tolls off I-90 and financing other state transportation road and bridge projects.

Metro claims they will cut services by 17 percent if Proposition 1 is not passed. Yet, between 2000 and 2012, Metro’s costs increased by 83 percent while ridership only increased 20 percent.  In a policy era of increasing King County building density, the environment is ideal for Metro’s ridership to outpace Metro’s expenses, as there should be more transit riders in urban areas.

It can be done. Last year Pierce Transit publicized 53 percent in bus service cuts without a tax increase. After voters turned down their tax increase, Pierce Transit managers made the decision to adjust to revenue realities. Pierce Transit actually cancelled all of the planned cuts and even recognized enough improvements to expand services by 3 percent next year.  Our Metro can do the same.

I remain committed to stopping I-90 tolls. They are bad for the region and bad for Mercer Island.  Proposition 1 does not improve our probability to stop I-90 tolls.  Vote No to Prop 1.  Vote No to Tolls.

Mike Cero

Councilmember

City of Mercer Island

 

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