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Tim Eyman toll restrictions likely to reach ballot

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm with 5 Comments »
July 8, 2011 12:30 pm

Tim Eyman today turned in what he says are 327,000 signatures in support of an initiative that would restrict tolls in Washington.

It’s likely enough to ensure voters decide on I-1125. The initiative would call for ending tolls on a project when construction is paid off, and requiring tolls to stay at the same price all day rather than rising and falling with traffic as they do on Route 167’s toll lanes.

His measure would also buttress existing state laws and constitutional provisions that:

  • keep tolls on one road or bridge from being used to pay for another project.
  • prevent highway lanes paid for with gas taxes from being converted to rail.
  • call for the Legislature, not the appointed Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

A opposition coalition is coalescing that former Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald said would be similar to those in campaigns that defeated a couple of Eyman’s previous transportation initiatives — including unions, business groups and environmentalists.

MacDonald said the initiative would keep the state from upgrading its infrastructure.

Costs don’t end when construction is paid off on a project like the Tacoma Narrows bridge, MacDonald said: it still needs money for maintenance and operations. Under Eyman’s initiative, those costs would have to be paid by gas taxes like other roads; Eyman says the state gets hooked on toll money and wants to keep it even once it’s no longer needed for its original purpose.

MacDonald said variable tolls that change based on time of day or traffic levels make roads more efficient; Eyman says they’re an attempt to change drivers’ behavior, not raise more money as tolls should be doing.

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. truthbusterguy says:

    Way to go Tim. You will get my vote and a check.

    Thanks for all you do for the taxpayers of WA state.

  2. Tim Eyman, I-1125 co-sponsor says:

    Here are the 2 biggest reasons we’re sponsoring I-1125:

    1) Voters approved Initiative 1053, the Taxpayer Protection Act, last year with a 64% “yes” vote. It passed in every legislative district outside Seattle (44 of 49 districts overwhelmingly approved it). Nonetheless, we’ve been watching politicians find sneaky, underhanded ways to get around I-1053 and our state Constitution. The most egregious violation relates to fees. I-1053 required the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature, and not unelected bureaucrats at state agencies, to take a recorded vote to set fees. But the Legislature re-empowered Gregoire’s unelected Transportation Commission to unilaterally impose billions of dollars in new tolls and ferry fares. I-1125 reinstates the I-1053 policy that it be the Legislature that decides. We’re talking about thousands of dollars per year for families and it’s simply not reasonable to allow that to happen without some accountability and transparency.

    2) Much of I-1125 is simply a reaffirmation of current laws and current constitutional protections (transportation money must go to transportation, tolls being project-specific, tolls paying for the infrastructure itself). Why? Because too many politicians and special interest groups have talked about skirting the law and violating the Constitution that we felt it was necessary to shine a bright spotlight on their plans. Better to deter them from breaking the law than to overturn their illegal actions after-the-fact (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure).

    We are incredibly proud and excited to be bringing I-1125 to the voters. It provides needed attention to some critically impactful policies. Special interest groups and politicians don’t want an open debate on this … they prefer cutting backroom deals and keeping the voters in the dark about what they’re doing. With I-1125, the public will learn about what’s going on and get the chance to weigh in in a meaningful way.

    More on I-1125 here: http://soundpolitics.com/archives/014813.html

  3. TheMASO says:

    Totally agree…just returned from a trip to Okla. Traveled the Will Rogers Turnpike, I-44, NE from to Tulsa to Joplin MO. When I was stationed in OK in 67-68 with the Air Force that turnpike was a toll road AND IT STILL IS. A lesson to learn here my fellow voters…when politicians see a CASH COW they will milk it for all they can at the expense of the taxpayers!!!

  4. Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!

  5. Already they are taking money from the SR-520 toll plans to fund the desperate attempts to fix the debacle that is “good to Go” and “Photo tolling”.
    This Initiative would prevent the taking of tolls on one bridge or road to pay for another.
    I t is too moderate of an attempt to reduce tolling in Washington, but it is a good first step.
    Jim McGraw
    jim@Tollrunner.org

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