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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

April 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Senators: Make ferry fares Good2Go

Senate leaders think it would be nifty if motorists can someday drive onto a ferry, or drive on a toll highway, using the same windshield-mounted Good2Go transponder.

The proposed Senate transportation budget, released Wednesday morning, calls for a $250,000 study and plan, to be published by Nov. 29.

Committee co-chair Curtis King, R-Yakima, hopes that somebody from Yakima could cross both Lake Washington and Puget Sound on the same pass, or that a commuter using the future I-405 high-occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes can use Good2Go for an occasional business or recreational trip.

“It would be less cumbersome,” he said, than the existing separate payment methods.

Jordan Schraeder, The (Tacoma) News Tribune’s statehouse reporter, challenged that assumption, pointing to many foulups with the launch of highway tolls. At the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, some 4,300 or more bogus citations were sent to law-abiding citizens, and 350,000 toll bills were late.

King replied, “We have had problems and we are going to be auditing that too, so we can ensure that system works. A lot of the early problems on that system have been corrected.”

Already, people who walk aboard ferries from Seattle to Bainbridge and Bremerton¬† — riding the vessels like transit — can pay with an ORCA transit farecard.

The $8.7 billion, two-year budget was described as “bare bones” to sustain programs at existing levels, including ferry service. It contains $61 million for I-5 pavement repair. Another $200 is earmarked for the Highway 99 tunnel and interchanges, leaving a $200 million gap to be filled by tolls or other money, on the $3.2 billion project.

0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: tolls, Washington State Ferries

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