Your Participation Can Prevent Tolling I-90
CONTACT your legislators NOW!
2015 Legislative SessionTransportation Package would eliminate need for I-90 tolling…but we must keep the pressure on our legislators to support the Senate Transportation Package.
[updated April, 2015]
Transportation Package, ESSB 5987 and 88, with 11.7¢ gas tax increase, passed by the State Senate March 2 (link), would among other projects, include funding for the completion of the west side of the 520 bridge. The Senate, on March 2nd, approved the $15 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental gas tax increase of 11.7 cents over the next three years. The chamber passed the revenue bill on a 27-22 bipartisan vote and negotiations with the House are beginning.
However, I-90 tolling is not off the table. Washington State treasurer James McIntire has written to the Legislature that "at a minimum, the Legislature should adopt legislation as soon as possible to toll the I-90 bridge to pay for 1.1 billion of the 1.4 billion cost of the west side of the 520 Corridor Project." (link)
Thus, if the Legislature adopts this advice there could be a gas tax increase along with I-90 tolling. Continued communication with your legislators is essential to passage of a transportation bill allotting funds for completion of the west part of the 520 bridge and avoid the negative economic and social consequences of a toll on I-90.
Contact your legislators:
Senate Transportation Committee (Link)
House Transportation Committee (Link)
Contact Your State And Federal Represetatives.
Click here for contact information.
Ask Questions, Suggest Alternatives
- Question the idea of I-90 and SR-520 constituting one cross-lake "corridor." Traffic on SR-520 and I-90 serves different populations and purposes
- Increased congestion on alternate routes will increase negative environmental impacts on surrounding communities
- Suggest alternate funding sources for SR-520 completion: reconfigure, postpone SR-520 west approach, gas taxes dedicated to SR-520 completion, vehicle miles driven taxes, delay Eastlink to fund SR-520 completion
- Stress that tolling impacts the entire Puget Sound region: affecting congestion on SR-522, traffic in communities north and south of I-90, commercial traffic from Eastern Washington taking alternate routes
For information about the scoping process, meetings and comments click here.
Do NOT ALLOW the state to narrow the SCOPE of IMPACT to only traffic on I-90 or to limit funding alternatives for the SR-520 project.
U.S. Congressmen Express I-90 Tolling Concerns to the FHWA
Congressman Adam Smith (9th Congressional District) writes to Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transport. Click here for details.
Congressman Dave Reichert (8th Congressional District) writes to Anthony Foxx, the incoming Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, regarding I-90 tolling. In his letter, Congressman Reichert raises concerns about the potential impacts of tolling on commerce and the legality of tolling I-90.Click here for details.
We are very thankful to these Congressmen for their support.
Update: EIS Now Required!
With the passage and signing of ESSB 5024 on 5/20/13 by Gov. Inslee, an evironmental impact statement (EIS) is now required before tolling I-90 for "providing funding for the construction of the unfunded state route number 520 from Interstate 5 to Medina project" can occur. The bill also requires the WSDOT to "perform a study of all funding alternatives to tolling Interstate 90 to provide funding for construction of the unfunded state route number 520 and explore and evaluate options to mitigate the effect or tolling on affected residents and all other users of the network and highways and roads surrounding Lake Washington..."
This is an important step in bringing to light the deleterious economic, social and qualitiy of life impacts on the entire I-90 corridor of tolling I-90. The requirement to explore alternatives for funding the unfunded part of route 520 is also an important aspect to this legislation.
City of Mercer Island's Recent Action Opposing Tolls on I-90
Click here for details.
Washington Policy Center article says that tolling I-90 is fundamentally flawed. Click here for article.
Tolling I-90 bridge is the wrong approach Just because the state can toll does not mean it should. Click here for Seattle Times Op-Ed.
Stop Tolling From Spreading
This map shows it is not just I-90 that tolls are planned for. Click the map to go to see more details of possible tolls.
Call Your Representatives
Please CALL your State Representatives with your reasons for opposition to I-90 tolling.
Phone numbers are listed on the Contact Officials page. CALLING is very important to convey the urgency and negative impact of the tolling proposal on the lives of everyone along I-90. Also call your federal representatives.
Contact Your City Council Representatives
Whichever city you live in, contact, write, call your City Council Representatives. Write to your State Representatives (find them here). Your federal representatives are also listed under the Contact Officials link at the top of this page.
Tolling Preparations Are Happening Now!
Tolling I-90 is wrong. Here's why:
- Tolling I-90 bridge is the wrong approach Just because the state can toll does not mean it should. Click here for Seattle Times Op-Ed.
- Tolling I-90 will NOT decrease the toll on the SR 520 bridge due to negotiated bond agreements for SR 520 bridge construction.
- Tolling on I-90 is only the beginning. The following links indicate the I-5 and I-405 tolling studies of the Puget Sound area undertaken or being undertaken by WSDOT at the direction of the legislature: Click: I-405 Click: I-5
- Tolling, assuming just one roundtrip to work 50 weeks a year for one family member, at $7.00 roundtrip, would cost each family a minimum of $1,750 per year increasing to...
- Tolls on SR 520 during peak-hour one way travel started at $3.50 in 2012, have risen to $3.59 for 2013, and will increase each year to $4.33 by 2016.
- Tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge have gone from $1.75 in 2007 to $2.75 in 2009 to $4.00 in 2013, and are scheduled to increase to $6.00 in 2016.
- Tolling I-90 would affect all residents, businesses, and employees along its corridor.
- Tolling I-90 would affect commercial and freight traffic all along its corridor.
- Tolling creates an economic and social divide between Seattle and the greater Eastside and isolates Mercer Island.
- Tolling I-90 amounts to a "penalty tax" for living on Mercer Island, going to school there, working there, and doing business there. Mercer Island is a neighborhood community from which almost all trips necessary to maintain its residents’ quality of life - employment, health care, shopping, after-school activities, charity, entertainment - are to and from the mainland. Anyone coming to visit, shop, or work, whether friend, relative, or persons delivering goods or services would be affected. It is unique in that it is entirely dependent upon the I-90 bridges for land access to and from home. Therefore, for families living on Mercer Island, this “penalty tax” would amount to multiples of $1,750, increasing to ….
- Tolling would be a deterrent for participation in cross-lake charitable activities.
- Tolling I-90 will influence family decisions where to send children to school as well as increase costs for accessing cultural, sports and entertainment facilities and activities throughout the I-90 corridor.
- Tolling I-90 would result in I-90 commuters paying a greater proportion of SR 520 bridge construction costs than SR 520 commuters due to greater vehicle volume on I-90 than on SR 520.
- Users of an existing facility--that has already been paid for with their taxes-- shouldn’t be asked to now pay a toll day after day, forever, to fund a replacement bridge in another corridor. Click to see: Seattle Times 2009 Article of Judy Clibborn's statement
Call the Legislative Hotline number below to contact the Senate or House legislator fom your district: 1-800-562-6000.
Write in with your opinon. Here are two sample letters (one for individuals and one for organizations (please use either and edit as you wish). Your comments should include the specific economic and social impacts that tolling will have on your business and activities.
Here are sample comments and letters - Pease edit comments to pertain to your personal situation or download and edit the sample letters below:
Sample Letters - Please Download And Edit
Sample optional comments to add to the above letters
- My children's after school activities (sports, music, etc) require travel multiple times a week from_____ to_____ .
- My job requires several trips per day to various sites from____ to ______.
- The care of my elderly parent requires (daily, multiple) trips from____ to ______.
- I live on the (Eastside or Seattle) and work in (Seattle or Eastside) and the cost of commuting would consume _% of my salary. I can not afford this extra cost of $2,000/year.
- I would not be able to continue with my charitable activities since they require travelling from ____ to _____.
- Bringing my children and picking them up at school would involve at least two round trips a day which would impact the choice of my children's school.
- My place of worship and religious obligations require me to travel from _____ to _____ . A toll would severely impact my ability to exercise this essential aspect of my life.
There are many organizations and individuals which need to be made aware of the hardships that tolling will exact on the cities and population along the I-90 corridor. Tolling I-90 is unacceptable.
Contact your City Council, the Washington State Transportation Commission, our Governor, our State Legislature, and all other planning and/or government authorities, local, regional, and federal. Details are on the Contact Officials page.
Virginia: Public Outcry Against Tolling
When faced with tolling an existing facility to fund construction of a separate, new facility, Virginians sued. Click on these links for the documents.