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I-1125: Protect state toll-payers and vote yes

Letter by Delores Brown, Gig Harbor on Oct. 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm with 7 Comments »
October 31, 2011 3:28 pm

Without the protections provided in Initiative 1125, tolls collected on a specific road or bridge could be used for any project within the state and tolling could continue forever. Note that when tolling was proposed for the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the Tacoma/Gig Harbor area, one of the justifications was that the costs for the bridge should be paid by the users of the bridge (and, tolling would cease after the bridge was paid for).

Tolling, especially variable rate tolling, is an even more regressive “tax” than the state sales tax and hits working people the hardest, especially lower-wage workers as they are the least likely to have the luxury of adjusting their working hours to avoid paying the highest tolls.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. nwcolorist says:

    Well stated.

    When the Narrows Bridge was rebuilt in 1950, the tolls were dedicated to paying off the bridge construction costs . That was accomplished in 1965, well ahead of schedule.

    There’s no reason why the same approach can’t be used for current and future bridges in Washington.

    People deserve to know how and where their money is being used. It’s time for accountability from our representatives in Olympia. Vote Yes on I-1125.

  2. alindasue says:

    That attitude is fine if we never build anything new again. New projects create new maintenance and repair costs. Since I-1125 expressly forbids us to use toll money for maintenance or repairs, all such money will have to come out of the already strained general fund. To not allow tolls to be collected for further costs that a new project brings is short sighted at best.

    Tolls have the advantage of those who actually use those roads covering the bulk of the costs. That’s something that the “taxed enough” crowd is usually calling for… yet, even when it goes against their usual interests, they still follow Mr. Eyman down his initiative rabbit hole into wonder-how-we-are-going-to-pay-for-it land.

  3. If my memory serves me correctly,the stipulation that when the first bridge was paid for and there was a certain amount of cash in the bank to pay for future repairs,the tolls would cease.Unfortunaly once the Legislature saw the amount of money the bridge was bringing in,they apparently decided they would find a different place to spend the toll money.Fortunatly for the taxpayers,who threatened to sue the state for not abiding with the stipulation of ending the tolls when all conditions were met,The taxaholics found they didn’t have the legal clout to continue the tolling.I feel that is why there is no toll booths on the first Narrows Bridge.

  4. alindasue says:

    sincere said, “If my memory serves me correctly,the stipulation that when the first bridge was paid for and there was a certain amount of cash in the bank to pay for future repairs,the tolls would cease.”

    Please read the text of I-1125 again all the way through. It expressly says in section 7 that no toll funds can be collected for maintenance, upgrades, or repairs. It says that all tolls are to end as soon as the initial building cost is paid for. Period.

    There are no toll booths on the first Narrows Bridge because the tolls are only collected on the westbound bridge, much like most of the ferry passenger fares are only collected on the westbound trips.(Vancouver, BC and the San Juan Islands runs are the only exceptions where passenger fare is collected both directions.)

  5. Flanagan says:

    alindasue….the law once upon a time said, once the bridge is paid for, tolls will end. There are no tolls on the old bridge because of that law. So, they put the toll on the new bridge.

  6. nwcolorist says:

    If the money for bridge maintenance is truly lacking, the Legislature can ask for a tax to deal specifically with that.

    It’s time to end the slush fund approach to spending.

  7. Thanks nwcolorist. That’s where I was headed on this one. Let’s get specific. It’s no good having “easy” money sitting around the statehouse, period.

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