Plan to toll I-90 angers Mercer Islanders
Tolls on Interstate 90 are a few years away, but drivers are awakening to the possibility they might have to pay $1,900 a year to cross Lake Washington.
By Mike Lindblom
Seattle Times transportation reporter
Speak out on I-90 tolls
Comment until Feb. 22
The state is taking comments to decide what should be part of an environmental-impact study. Remaining opportunities:
In person: 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way, Seattle.
Online: www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/i90/onlinescoping or I90EAcomments@wsdot.wa.gov
Postal mail: to Angela Angove, 999 Third Ave., Suite 2200, Seattle 98104
Cold reality is setting in for drivers of Interstate 90, who three years from now might have to pay $1,900 a year to cross Lake Washington.
I-90 tolls would help the state close a deficit of $1.4 billion to complete the new $4.1 billion, six-lane Highway 520 floating bridge, three miles north — a bridge Mercer Island residents say they rarely use.
“I’m really considering selling my house and moving,” said Denise Joffe, a Mercer Island resident. “Why should I be paying a toll for somebody else’s bridge?”
For others, in a vast area from Kirkland to West Seattle, the choice of bridges is more flexible, shown by the fact that 15,000 driversa day are diverting to toll-free I-90 since the state imposed a toll 13 months ago on the old 520 crossing.
State lawmakers have talked about adding tolls to I-90 since the mid-2000s, but don’t expect to vote until 2014 on a bill to authorize them. After that, installing tolling devices could take another two years. For now, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is taking comments from the public, to decide what issues to explore in an environmental-impact study, costing $2 million.
Joffe was among 800 people at a forum Tuesday night on Mercer Island, where the “No Tolls on I-90” supporters brought an information table, a couple of pickets and a toilet seat to symbolize how their money would be flushed away.
Wednesday’s session in Bellevue drew only 147 people in the first two hours. A third open house is Thursday in Seattle.
Toll rates likely would match the variable rates charged on Highway 520, currently peaking at $3.59 each way, said House Transportation Committee chairwoman Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.
A common misconception is that federal law forbids tolling an interstate, but the Federal Highway Administration has said it is open to I-90 bridge tolls, especially if they are designed to control congestion.
Local CRC scum down this way are thinking the same thing. Of course, this waste of billions will do nothing to improve congestion, just like the waste of billions for the SR520 bridge won't do anything to improve congestion; which is being rebuilt/replaced for the same treason we're being scamed down here: loot rail.
While it's against state law now to toll I-205 in Washington, you can bet that the slime balls in Oregon will take a somewhat different view. After all, the majority of those who are going to get screwed by tolls to pay for the hundreds of millions in Oregon will live here, and so they won't have any vote... or any say.
So.... is this our future?
Of course it is. If the CRC scam isn't blown out of the water, then this is what WE are going to be looking at... just like those poor bastards in Seattle, Bellevue and Mercer Island.