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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Transportation

Board supports radical plan for few new roads, but more tolls

An obscure committee in a relatively obscure organization is planning the future of our transportation. It’s potentially a future of 1.5 million more people but few new roads, a future where all major roads are tolled or a vehicle-miles tax is imposed.

Welcome to Transportation 2040, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s (PSRC) vision of our transportation future. The PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board has been overseeing the plan for months with little public awareness.

Last week, in an informal poll of the five plan alternatives, half of the board members supported the fifth alternative, the most radical option. It proposes little road building in the next 30 years but supports tolling of our entire road network from arterials to freeways.

I believe this alternative is unrealistic due to many approved and future developments, which will add tens of thousands of homes in suburban King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. These folks will need roads to get to distant job centers, schools and shopping centers.

It seems our elected officials will not effectively manage growth through planning and instead may attempt to control it through transportation policy. I believe this is wrong. It is not fair to these new and growing communities. They should not be ignored.

Everybody deserves effective transportation options, not just those living in major urban centers. It’s time for us to comprehensively, collectively and concurrently plan growth and transportation for everyone in our region.

Public comment on the Transportation 2040 alternatives will be accepted until July 13th at psrc.org.

— Noel Gerken, Transportation Policy Board member, Maple Valley

Comments | More in Tolling, Traffic congestion, Transportation

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