March 1, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Tolls affect the region
I live on Mercer Island and oppose the proposed tolls [“I-90 tolls: Islanders incensed,” page one, Jan. 31]. People have written letters to the editor calling the objections of Mercer Islanders a collective tantrum of a bunch of spoiled brats (my summary). Aside from the fact that stereotypes are rarely accurate, the tolls would impact the economy in the whole area, not solely that of Mercer Island.
Those who commute from or to Seattle will be affected. Those who work on Mercer Island but do not live here will be affected. This includes hundreds of teachers and other employees.
Mercer Islanders take our commerce off the island. For example, we shop for groceries, get our cars serviced, take kids to activities and work off the island. That is an economic issue for this area. Mercer Islanders will be deterred from taking their business off the Island.
Now look at the tolling plan as a whole. I-90 runs across the state. The state needs funds to pay for their gaffs in the rebuilding of the 520 bridge. Is it fair to toll only the Puget Sound Region, one tiny part of a state? No. Is it beneficial to have free access between Seattle and the Eastside? Of course!
–Barbara Winkelman, Mercer Island
February 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Tolling may affect trade
Will Washington become the only state with a toll on Interstate 90 [“I-90 tolls: Islanders incensed,” page one, Jan. 31]? Will some shippers move from the Port of Seattle?
Who knows, but for sure the “introductory” toll presented by the Department of Transportation will not be adequate, and will be raised. Look to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for a model.
–Archer Wirth, Kingston
June 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM
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
March 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM
Seattle businesses will be hurt
Who among us “average” people is going to spend an additional $5 to $10 for the “privilege” of a trip into downtown Seattle to shop or dine, only to be hit with a $10-plus parking charge, and a fee on entertainment and dining as well? ["Chopp is starting to like tunnels," page one, March 26.]
The added cost of a toll from the Eastside to downtown is really going to hurt Seattle businesses that rely on Eastsiders coming in, especially on weekends for entertainment, dining or shopping.
To try and minimize the adverse impacts of the toll, I suggest that the state, which is considering a toll on both bridges, consider a plan that excludes tolling on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays.
Those who must commute via the bridges for workweek business will do so, that is a given. But to toll those who have a discretionary decision to go to the Eastside or Seattle will give serious pause to going into the city, especially as the Eastside grows its entertainment and dining options.
And think about the added cost of a Mariners game! Eighty-two home games times $7 round-trip toll. That is an additional $572 dollars on the top of your $500-$1,000 Mariners Package!
I know the city and state are hurting and looking for funding options, but what good is a new bridge to a city without any businesses? The toll is a discretionary-fun killer for the city and its sports teams.
– Art Francis, Issaquah
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