This is a few days old, but in the State House a bill is has been proposed that would charge tolls on only SR-520 to help fund the new bridge. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), who introduced the bill, is wrong on this policy. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) is right: We need to toll both the SR-520 and I-90 bridges.

We do not want to force traffic across just the I-90 span, which is a possibility with tolls across only SR-520, and we will not be able to raise enough money without tolling both spans. No one likes spending money, but building cross-lake spans is very expensive. And tolling isn’t just a fee: it’s a tool to reduce congestion at peak hours.

28 Replies to “Murray is Right: Toll Both”

  1. I agree with the toll booths, however, I would like to see it go one step further and require everyone on any sort of public transit who’s crossing the lake to also pay an additional toll, besides just their fare. We need to start encouraging people to live closer to work. Commuters, in my mind, are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    1. You’re freaking kidding, right? Man I hate the living closer to work argument. It’s nice in theory, but people don’t stay at one company for 20 years, or even 10, or even 5! The average time with one employer is just slightly over 4 years ( A classic example is an IT worker that works at Microsoft, then gets a great job at Amazon and then goes to Google. I’m not moving from Redmond, to Seattle and then to Kirkland in the span of 12 years. Or maybe I work at the Boeing plant in Renton and then I get moved up to Everett and then back down to Boeing Field. Should I move? God I hope I can sell my house. Should I say no to the move? Hmm…do I even have that option? Or should I just commute whether by public transit or car(pool)? The choice is pretty simple, I choose commute over the other possibly monumental loss of money. The only way to get rid of commuters are to not allow companies to set up shop outside of a given area. But then from the perspective of some on this blog they don’t see why Boeing can’t build their planes on the 42nd floor of the Columbia Tower, because right now they just contribute to sprawl.

    2. Sam
      May be you should go back to Wikipedia and try find one place in the world where people are forced to live closer to where they work. this is America and still a free country.

      1. All I’m saying is that people who chose to live far away from their work are a part of the problem, not a part of the solution. It’s because of them, multi-billion dollar transit systems, bridges, and freeway systems have to be built. I, on the other hand, am part of the solution. I moved to within walking distance of work. I’m not sure how to put this modestly, but I think I’m an example of how to live right.

      2. Sam
        You don’t have to be so self-righteous. There are many factors that determines people’s choices of where they live other than their place of work and it is unreasonable to be expect everyone to live close to where they work. Unfortunately, you would not know that from Wikipedia.

      3. ya know, i have been liveing and working in puget sound for more than 30 years. i found a place in seattle for 570 a mounth. were can i find that on the east side were i work??????? i make a little under 20,000 a year, have a wife and a child, and i am 40 years old. i waited to get established in a carer before haveing a family. i drive a car under 25,000. i dont spend my hard earned money on anything but necesity. no saveings, no retirerment, no vacations, so what do you suggest? i bet you drive a bmw. oh, and incase you tell me to go back to school, i was raised in a family of craftsman and appenticed with my father from the time i was 10 untill i was 30. at that point around 9-11, americans(you)stopped buying american made furniture and started buying at costco and home depot. we all know what the underlying problem in america is. it’s foolish greed for more, faster, cheaper. thats were you come in. instead of supporting the local economy you support the wrong economy, buy things you dont really need and and produce children that rely on microwaved everything. thats whats clogging up the roads and makeing it so difficult to live near the place you work and causes the need for bigger supper duper highways. what we need is more peaple like you rideing the bus and only owning one lowcost fuel effient car, or car pool. let your kids learn to use more enviormentaly sound forms of transport and you set a good example by doing the same. i do!

  2. The toll for mass transit isn’t going to help. Tolls also encourage carpooling as they are charged per vehicle. Per bus, for people on the bus, it would be quite small, and mostly an inconvenience that won’t make people want to spend lots of money to move. Since people don’t work at companies that long these days, and finding both affordable housing and a keeping a job next to it is very difficult. Once you have a house, it is tough, and expensive to move your family across the lake. And that job may not last much longer. It’s best just to get people attached to good commuting methods. Commuting is here to stay; we need to make it as efficient as possible. Encouraging transit is the way to go.

    1. Hahaha, good one! I was making a bit of a trollish comment, but I do actually believe that, too. I do believe there should be more incentive for people to live closer to work, and a greater penalty for those who choose to live far from work.

      1. Congestion is caused by people driving, and obviously if people drive more they cause more congestion. If they are driving longer they are driving more.

  3. Jane Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) is just pandering to her constituants. The tolling descision is something that should be left up to the transportation professionals. This is just another example of a politician trying to screw with something they know nothing about while trying to appease those that vote in her district.

    I wonder what the tolling will do to the traffic on the roads around the north end of the lake. However, I am in favor of tolling both bridges with no special treatment to people on Mercer Island. People who live on islands with ferry service don’t get discounts (other than commuter books which anyone can buy), so people on Mercer Island shouldn’t get any special treatment. As a side note, I have always hated the fact that people who live on Mercer Island can use the reversable lanes on I-90 without being a carpool.

    1. Anybody can use those lanes as an SOV, but he has to get off in Mercer Island. Then one can get back on the regular lanes. It is the result of a dumb deal they had to make with MI to get the bridge built.

  4. we wouldn’t need tolls at all if we didn’t have the expensive lids and extremely exepensive routing on the west side of the lake.

    If I remember right we have all the money ALREADY to build the whole span and east side of the bridge.

      1. Ok I looked it up and it’s roughly 2.5 billion for the bridge and east side. I think more discussion should be on how to make the west access more affordable.

      2. The lid for the Hunts point residents adds a lot to the east side construction costs. The new Narrows was built for less than $750M. Lake Washington is a longer span (less than Golden Gate) so I just can’t see why building on the cheap (floater=75 year design life, real bridge 125+ years) is more than double. WSDOT’s stated plans though are to not undertake construction until the entire corridor is designed and funded. Except they’re planning to start pouring concrete for the pontoons in Grays Harbor this year.

        On the west I’d like to see them bypass the arboritum exit entirely and make Montlake transit only. That would reduce costs and make surface transit through the U-Dist much more attractive. The very worst idea In my book is the high level bridge across Union Bay.

    1. Expensive routing that we haven’t even chosen yet? :)

      No, we’d come nowhere near having enough money. This is why I advocate surface option for the Viaduct and reprogramming some of those funds to the 520 bridge…

      1. That’s a good plan. Just tear the viaduct down, replace it with two three-lane surface roads on Western and Alaskan way and call it a day.

      2. I hate to call foul, but the surface plans had a lot of changes that required a good amount of money (i.e. 1st Ave streetcar). We wouldn’t have money left over for the 520 :/

        But yeah the tunnel will be ridiculously expensive and will need to be tolled as well, in addition to placing more burden on the county and city needlessly.

  5. Though a native Washingtonian, I have been living in Chicago for almost four years. Just a word of advice: if tolls are set for a purpose, make sure there is an end date or situation to the tolls. Some of the tolls here in Chicagoland were supposed to pay for construction only. Instead they were made permanent. Unless you want to worry about quarters or electronic passes every time you pass through, I’d suggest being involved and pushing for a definite end to the tolls when a given situation is met, such as completion of the project.

      1. That’s what gas taxes are supposed to go for. Historically, tolls in this state have only been used to pay off the construction cost of the bridge being built.

      2. I’d be for keeping the tolls forever. I’d also be for variable tolling that gets extremely expensive ($10 each way) during peak periods.

      3. True if they had kept a modest toll on 520 the entire time we would probably have plenty of funds to build a new one.

Comments are closed.