Letters to the Editor

Your views in 250 words or less

Tag: tolls

Dec.
5th

GAS TAX: Toll payers here to fund SR 520 bridge?

Re: “Lawmaker’s plan would roll back Narrows toll” (TNT, 12-5).

Once again, flush with no ideas, our leaders are going around the will of the people. After we voted “no” on nefarious increases (probably to have more cash for stuff like food), a 10 cent gas tax increase is being considered. We already have among the highest gas tax in the U.S.

To top it with a cherry, much of that money will go to replacing the state Route 520 bridge in Seattle, a bridge most of us never use. King County didn’t help us pay for the Narrows

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Nov.
14th

TOLLS: WSDOT could use tried-and-true strategy

I see that the  Washington State Department of Transportation has sent out Interstate 90 toll surveys to Mercer Island residents.

I live in Gig Harbor and daily pay a toll to cross the  Narrows Bridge. When building a new Narrows bridge was put to a vote in Pierce County, it could not get the majority vote to pass. So the DOT solution was to expand the voting area to include King County. They finally got the majority needed to construct the bridge.

Now DOT is having difficulty getting approval for a new state Route 520 floating bridge in King County.

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March
20th

BRIDGE: Higher tolls have economic effect

Re: “Narrows toll hike recommended as fight looms” (TNT, 3-20).

Here is what happens when you raise Narrows Bridge tolls: People do not cross the bridge to shop or visit either Tacoma or the Kitsap Peninsula. As the tolls have increased, it has become cheaper for many of us to shop online.

Before the second bridge was built, twice a month we would go to Harbor Freight, the Tacoma Mall and the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Afterwards, we dropped to once every other month. When the tolls were raised last year, we ceased going to Tacoma entirely.

We

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July
16th

BUDGET: Privatize roads and public places

Now that we are accustomed to the naming of stadiums, fields and arenas (as in “Safeco” field, “CenturyLink” field, “Key” arena,”Petco” park), we should consider doing this for other public places. We could have Safeway I-5 and Microsoft 405 and Bed Bath & Beyond I-90.

And we wouldn’t have to stop with roads; what about libraries, museums and parks? Just think about Waste Management Park (AKA Point Defiance).

If we (taxpayers) are not able to afford these luxuries, why not let private enterprise have them. Sell the naming rights and along with that they could have the right to maintain

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July
16th

NARROWS BRIDGE: Can’t project be refinanced?

Re: “Bridge payoff plan faces uncertainties” (TNT, 7-15).

A decade ago, a private company called United Infrastructures offered to build at its own expense a second bridge over the Narrows. No bidding, no bonds, simple and easy. After “X” decades the tolls would be removed and the bridge would be turned over to the state. The project started on that premise, and now we have a project that can’t pay for itself. In the full-page article was no indication of what interest rate the state is paying. TNT, shame on you.

When I get my mortgage statement, principal paid

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July
3rd

TOLLS: Who’s doing the math?

So the Narrows Bridge toll just went up from $2.75 to $4, and the TV announcer said that that was to keep up with inflation and expenses.

OK, let’s see: a $1.25 hike is a 45 percent increase. I guess that means my house bought in 2007 for $200,000 is now worth $290,000. Gas that was $3.50 a gallon should now cost $5.07. Mortgage rates that were 6.2 percent should now be 9 percent.

Expenses? Has the price of labor gone up 45 percent? Concrete and steel?

My two questions: Who’s doing the math? And has tar and feathering gone

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July
2nd

TOLLS: Why higher percentage hike for pass users?

Regarding the newest bridge toll hike (TNT, 6-30), I looked at the numbers that the Washington State Department of Transportation has posted and this is what I came up with.

Vehicles that drive across the bridge without stopping or having a pass were paying $5.50; their new rate is $6, an increase of 9.09 percent. Vehicles that stop at the toll booth were paying $4; their new rate is $5, an increase of 25 percent.

Vehicles that have a pass – which requires no toll taker nor expense to mail out a bill, so there is no extra expense

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May
2nd

TOLLS: Mobility reduced as expenses increase

Re: “Bridge tolls are more than fees” (TNT, 5-1).

Would all economists love tolling? Tolls cost far more to collect than taxes do. Some drivers are price-sensitive. Tolls that ignore price elasticity generate less revenue than tolls that differentiate market segments’ ability/willingness to pay. Tolls can encourage undesirable behaviors.

Furthermore, the users of the state Route 520 bridge are not the only beneficiaries of its existence. Those who routinely took Interstate 90 benefited from SR 520 being free; they are “paying” now with time and fuel since traffic on the free bridge has risen 10 percent. Won’t the free

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