Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

I-1125: Tolling is a fair way to tax

Letter by Michael Crook, Spanaway on Oct. 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm with 21 Comments »
October 20, 2011 1:08 pm

Re: “New Eyman initiative tells state to stick with old ways of tolling” (TNT, 10-17).

The new Eyman initiative is a proper depiction of what society expects from the state.

Unbelievably, the state does not magically generate funds for transportation projects. Tolls are a great way to tax people because ultimately we all have the choice to use the tolled roadways and bridges.

The tolling also promotes the use of public transportation, which will reduce the amount of construction on our transportation infrastructure.

The condition of the state economy does not put us in a position to cut revenue. Part of I-1125 would give the Legislature the power to set the prices of the tolls with the intention of using those funds for a transportation project. The importance here is that the revenue coming from tolling bridges and roadways goes directly into improving the current transportation system.

With the current trend of diminishing taxes and state budget crises, there is a need for new ways to generate revenue.

This is not a time for Washington citizens to vote for tax cuts due to our suffering economy and diminished services. Our state population is growing and we need to all realize that the transportation infrastructure needs to grow with our population.

Tags:
Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. CrazyJim says:

    We are on our own. I foresee the Federal government sending less money to the states and since our infrastructure drives our economy I say kick Eyman to the curb.

  2. fbergford says:

    Tolling is fine as long as the toll is used for the project that it is supporting…i.e. The Narrows Bridge toll being used to pay off the Narrows Bridge THAT IS IT! You can’t take that toll and use it to pay for the tunnel in Seattle, or the new 520 bridge. Why should we in Tacoma/Gig Harbor/Pierce County help pay for a tunnel or a new bridge in Seattle? It’s the same for King County residents, they don’t live down here and use the Narrows Bridge so they should not have to pay for it!

  3. alindasue says:

    fbergford, I-1125 won’t even let us collect tolls to repair or maintain the Narrows bridge. Please, read beyond the description of the initiative into the “fine print”. As far as I can tell, the main purpose of I-1125 is to cut back tolls to bare minimum… essentially, another of Mr. Eyman’s “tax reducing” measures that’s going to end up costing us more in the long run.

  4. crocodopolis says:

    Tim Eyman = another “NO” vote here.

    In the end, this man has cost Washington State taxpayers far more in the costs of litigation than any and all of his initiatives collectively might have saved us.

    Do the math.

    Where’s my $30 license tabs?

  5. fbergford says:

    alindasue 1125 says legislators need to set the tolls not appointed officials how it is now, it also says you can only use the tolls to pay for the project i.e. Narrows Bridge tolls pay for the narrows bridge. Our legislators want the tolls from any project put into a “general fund” so they can use that fund for new projects. I’m not against tolls, I think it is a great way to pay for projects, what I am against is putting all the tolls in a “general fund” and using it to pay for new projects.

  6. fbergford says:

    crocodopolis you can thank your elected officials for adding new “fees” to your car tabs, not eyeman.

  7. fbergford says:

    another point alindasue…you place a $4 toll on the bridge for every user and you keep it at that cost until it is paid off, then you get rid of the toll. We are already paying 10 cents per gallon of gas (which is one of the highest in the nation) which goes towards DOT. What you should be irritated about, is all these electric cars that don’t have to fill up on gas, so those owners are using the roads and not paying tax on it i.e. gas tax. The electric cars still have the same wear and tear on the roads as there gasoline brethren.

  8. Let’s see….usually the Conservatives are claiming the elected officials in Olympia don’t know what they are doing….but on the issue of tolls…they just got brilliant.

    Eyman is the Pied Piper of the Conservative Following. If Tim says so, they drool then follow.

    Has anyone asked Tim how much he is paying himself for this representation of a wealthy developer?

  9. “We are already paying 10 cents per gallon of gas”

    Complain about 10 cents a gallon if it’s a tax, but pity the Oil Companies and make sure they get subsidies.

    It goes on and on and on….

    If your car gets 20 miles to the gallon, that tax represents 1/2 of 1 cent per mile that you are paying for the privilege.

  10. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    There is good and bad in 1125. Lots more good than bad so I am a YES vote. Thanks again Tim, check in the mail.

  11. MadTaxpayer says:

    Tolling, another form of taxation. Why do we have some of the highest fuel taxes in our country, yet our State needs more? I want my $30 car tabs. I know in my lifetime, I will not see $30 tabs. I just paid my car tabs, bad, not the original $1080.00 I paid in 1996.
    Some how, we need to get control over these non elected officials and take our state back!

    Tim, bring it on!

  12. alindasue says:

    fbergford,

    First, toll rates should be based on actual costs and not political whim. That is why I prefer to have an appointed panel setting toll rates rather than having the elected members of the legislator setting them.

    Secondly, under I-1125, if we are collecting tolls on the Narrows bridge (your example), those tolls would end as soon as the initial construction costs are done. That would be okay except I-1125 expressly forbids collection of tolls to cover ANY other expenses – EVEN ON THE NARROWS BRIDGE (in this case). That means that ALL other expenses (maintenance, repairs, upgrades, etc) MUST come out of the general fund, with absolutely no recourse for the people who actually use the bridge paying the bulk of those costs – because it is expressly forbidden to do so under I-1125.

    Go read it yourself. It’s in section 7 of the initiative, if memory serves. (I last read it a couple weeks ago.)

    Also, if you like those variable toll HOT lanes on HWY-167… The HOT lanes on HWY-167 may be grandfathered in, but you won’t see any more created because variable tolls also are expressly forbidden under I-1125.

    Note that I am using the term “expressly”. That means that it clearly says it in writing. It means that the actual wording clearly states that no tolls what-so-ever can be collected for maintenance, repair, or upgrade costs and there can be no variable tolls.

    That may sound good to you if you regularly use the Narrows bridge, but would it still sound just as good if a bridge in need of a very expensive update and repairs were in, say, Spokane, and we couldn’t collect tolls to cover the repair and upgrade costs?

    As for electric cars, what little wear and tear they may put on our roads (due to limitations, most people who own purely electric cars don’t travel far) is made up by the wear and tear those cars are not putting on our air. However, that is a different issue that has nothing to do with I-1125.

  13. flyingdutchman says:

    The biggest problem with Timmy is that he thinks the future is something for which his cannot be held responsible. The attitude among Republicans is to support the efforts for which the biggest financial benefit will come. However, the infrastructure of this country is not something you can simply make, or build, once without expecting to rebuild, fix, or wholly replace (as in the case of the viaduct). Timmy is so blind to the responsibilities the future holds, only because he wants he billionaire friends to benefit and to hell with society as a whole.

  14. alindasue says:

    fbergford,

    Ironically, the funding to build those “pet projects” can be collected through tolls. The states general fund is a finite amount of money. Every time we build new infrastructure or a new “pet project”, we add a new set of maintenance and possible future upgrade costs.

    The new Narrows bridge is not just a bridge. It is also several decades of maintenance, possibly needing new reconfiguring and improvements as it ages and traffic needs change. We already had maintenance of the first bridge figured into the general budget. Now we have two bridges to maintain doubling the money coming out of the general budget… or, we could continue to charge a small toll to build up maintenance funds for the bridges.

    Like I said, there is only a finite amount of money in the general fund. If you are going to keep building new structures, then you need to raise taxes to build up the general fund (or the transportation fund) to cover them OR you fund them with tolls.

    The only other solution, if you don’t want tolls or raised taxes, is to never build any new structures ever again.

    As flyingdutchman pointed out, Mr. Eyman’s I-1125, like most of his initiatives, is very short sighted – sacrificing tomorrow for immediate political gratification.

  15. fbergford says:

    Alindasue…where in my comments did I say we shouldn’t have tolls? I didn’t say that, you are assuming that. I said tolls are good up until the project is paid off. I then stated that tolls should be at a set price and they should not go up or down during certain times of the day. I also said tolls should be set by elected officials not appointed ones like they are now. I then stated that we have a budget in place to cover the costs of maintenance to the infrastructure. New projects mean new tolls which are fine and dandy, and the tolls for that project should go specifically for that project to pay off not into a general slush fund what the state is trying to do right now because of their inability to budget the millions and millions of dollars that they already recieve in taxes.

  16. alindasue says:

    Okay, fbergford, we seem to be starting to find some middle ground here.

    It sounds like you don’t object to tolls to pay for maintenance and repair costs, but you don’t like variable tolls. I can understand that. I’m not terribly fond of them myself – or HOT lanes, for that matter. I think they defeat the purpose of building HOV lanes.

    The problem is that I-1125 doesn’t just stop at eliminating variable tolls or making sure that tolls collected on a bridge go toward funding for that bridge. If it did, I’d probably vote for it.

    I could even live with the legislator setting the toll rates, although I still thing an appointed commission would still be influenced by politics.

    However, I-1125 goes on to forbid tolls for anything – ANYTHING – but the initial building costs of a project and THAT is where Mr. Eyman is sacrificing the future for immediate political gain. That reason is why I will vote against I-1125 and encourage others to do likewise.

  17. alindasue says:

    “I could even live with the legislator setting the toll rates, although I still thing an appointed commission would still be influenced by politics.”

    I meant, will still be LESS influenced by politics.

  18. I-1125 vote NO.

  19. Looking at what Tim Eyman has done for the citizens of Washington State as opposed to what the legislature has done for the Taxpayers, you should be able to see Tim is far more intrested in the peoples welfare than our Reps.Tim tried to get the License tabs down to 30 dollars,by helping to get an inititive passed,and we passed that inititive and what happened?The legislature went through the back door and gutted the bill.Has any one noticed what they are paying for tabs now compared what they were paying 4 years ago, and I have heard the word that there is another raise of License Fees coming in the near future.Just say you heard it here first

  20. theglovesRoff says:

    I-1125 vote YES.

  21. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Why do the liberals, democrat and union leaders come out against any idea that will constrain state government? Ask yourself that.

    The answer is they fear a smaller government because it will require government to be more accountable for your tax dollars. No more lavish pay increases, union boon doggles and failed social programs that are designed to buy votes.

    Moderate voters are learning this and this is why 1053 passed and statewide voters are rejecting more taxes. We must keep the pressure on government. It ONLY way is to limit their money. Vote NO on Prop 1 and I-1163 (designed to increase the goverments take) and vote Yes for I-1183 and I-1125 (designed to reduce the power and money the government has).

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0