Winning a political campaign requires leveraging whatever political alliances one can forge, so I understand why Protect Seattle Now is making a big deal about $5 tolls in the deep-bore tunnel.  However, one of the best things to like about the DBT is it’s being partially funded by tolls, the second-best funding source behind gas taxes.

Tolls are an excellent way to deter driving by raising its costs. They work best, of course, when all alternative driving corridors are similarly tolled, and that isn’t going to happen here. The result will be congestion, of course, but we’ll have congestion in any case; it’s a question of where the equilibrium point is.

Furthermore, congestion both deters driving and is good for pedestrians. One bizarre argument for the tunnel is that gridlock on Alaskan Way would be bad for pedestrian access to the waterfront. The opposite is true. Cars travelling at the speed limit is bad for access; a virtual parking lot means pedestrians rule. Congestion is especially harmless if a tolled, uncongested option works for people that truly have no other choice.

Put another way, if the Feds came up with $400m and obviated the tolling, that would make this a worse project. You’d just increase the long-run car capacity and have another congested roadway, and no uncongested route for users with no good alternatives to driving.

It also helps, of course, if people are given good alternatives through investment in transit, something that the DBT plan commits $0 to. And the government is going to spend about $1 billion extra in a doomed attempt to alleviate congestion, $1 billion that could fund a lot of those alternatives.

74 Replies to “But Tolling is Good!”

  1. Alas, unlike an actual parking lot, gridlock maximizes the density of running internal combustion engines, skewering the air quality for the pedestrians.

    1. …assuming the car is still running on fossil fuels. Even idling Hybrids shut their engines down. So that argument will be going away within two decades.

    2. Yah, we’ve heard that argument before. That line of thinking can lead to a pro-environment argument for expanding and building new highways. However, I argue that free flowing traffic encourages more driving and, thus, more pollution. A moving diesel truck (or bus for that matter) smells just as terrible when it passes as one idled, perhaps worse. Further, that argument ignores other factors in the environment. Take noise: an idling engine is quiet compared to one fully throttled.

      1. Also absent are the “costs” of building each individual automobile. We are approx 6% of the global population consuming approx 25% of the world’s resources? We simply need to reduce our rampant “autophilia” and building ever more cars is not the way to do so.

    3. What a tired argument. Idling cars produce way less pollution than moving cars, most cars built in the last ten years have very little tailpipe emissions anyway, and many new cars like hybrids automatically shut off at a stop. This will be less and less of a problem over time, and certainly shouldn’t be used to justify highway expansion.

      1. You have a valid point. A modern, fuel-injected car is no dirtier at idle than at cruise.

        However, as the EPA will tell you, 10% of the cars create 90% of the pollution. That 80’s era Chevy pickup behind you at the stoplight with the out-of-tune idle mixture? It’s dumping more HC into the air than the rest of the cars in the CBD combined. That Honda with a burned exhaust valve in the next lane over? Causing more air quality issues than all the diesel trucks in SoDo.

        Properly tuned & maintained cars haven’t been producing anything but CO2 for 2 decades now, hybrid or not. It’s a small handful of poorly maintained vehicles that cause local air quality issues. And so long as you can dodge emissions tests by registering your car to a PO box in the next county over, the problem will not go away.

      2. Pollution discussions should distinguish between classic pollutants and CO2. The latter is still pretty directly related to speed and doesn’t dissappear with electric assist, since we’re still mostly running on coal and nuclear powered electricity.

  2. Will there be any requirement that tractor-trailer rigs and trucks use the tunnel and stay off downtown streets? I’m wondering how many big rig drivers will be doing cost/benefit calculations and decide that saving $5 but taking an extra 5 minutes to get across downtown is the best option. Many of the drivers are independent operators who will have to pay the $5 out of their own pockets and if they are making several trips a day across downtown, those tolls can add up quickly. Imagine a company that has a warehouse in SODO and needs to make a delivery to Ballard. Does it make economic sense to spend $10 in tolls or should the driver waste the extra time plodding along the surface streets?

    1. The $5 toll is for passenger cars. Usually tolls for trucks are much, much higher. For instance the George Washington Bridge in NY is a $6(non-peak)to $8(peak) toll for passenger cars, but $42-48 for trucks. Seven to Eight times more.

      It seems like if they charged trucks $30 they’d all be rolling through downtown.

      1. The GWB also has weeknight discounts ($33) for trucks to encourage more efficient use of the bridge capacity.

        Hazmat trucks will have to use surface streets, but with the price of diesel, I bet most truckers will pay an appropriately-priced toll rather than grind through downtown.

      2. Really? How much Diseasel can a truck burn in the 5 to 10 minutes they do not save by not paying the well-over-$5 toll? Can it really be more than the 1.2 gallons that the $5 (again, the truck toll will be much higher) would buy?

    2. Will all those freight trucks headed for Ballard actually take the tunnel? The tunnel takes you up to the Aurora Bridge, which doesn’t offer very convenient access to Ballard for a tractor-trailer rig. Seems like taking surface streets to the Ballard Bridge is a better option. How much of this freight to Ballard that we keep hearing about actually even uses the tunnel corridor?

      1. Without an off-/on- ramp to the Ballard Freeway (a.k.a. Elliot/Western leading to 15th Ave. West)? NONE!!

      2. The dirty little secret of the DBT: there is very little freight using the corridor, and Alaskan Way is already a designated freight corridor (the surface street) and will have to remain that way.

      3. I went to the open house for the Mercer West project, and I noticed that to go from the tunnel to west on Mercer Street requires making two left turns (left from Republican to Dexter, left from Dexter to Mercer).

        I pointed this out to the guy standing in front of the diagram (I think he worked for one of the engineering firms), and he said, “Yeah, I don’t think there will many trucks using the tunnel.”

        Apparently he didn’t get the memo that we need this tunnel because…because…working waterfront!

      4. Trucks will be primarily be using the surface couplet.

        A small handful of trucks going from North to South seattle will use the tunnel (drivers who use 99 to avoid the I-5 backup from Northgate to the Ship Canal).

      5. I think the freight argument is based on a desire to have the routes to Ballard unclogged w/ private vehicles as opposed to wanting to use the tunnel. However, now that we’ve learned how much cloggage the tolled tunnel will create, I’m unclear about freight’s preference.

    3. Trucks with flammable or hazardous cargo will likely be banned from the tunnel entirely.

  3. Martin,

    Yes, high speeds are bad for pedestrians. However, not all levels of congestion are better – the most popular surface option that came out of the 2008 process was one that had 3-4 lanes going one way each on Western and Elliott.

    I can see that you might assume that slower traffic is better, but not when it’s four lanes to cross. According to Gehl Architects, foremost authorities on the urban pedestrian experience, the problem with the surface was that it created SO MUCH traffic that it became a barrier to pedestrians to cross streets and to get to and from the waterfront. See below.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2010/10/08/2013112258.pdf

    Now, you’ll recall that one of the side intents of removing the Viaduct, since it had to come down, was to open access to the waterfront, the surface option actually created a Viaduct-like barrier, just on the ground. One of the main reasons it was not ultimately suppported by decision-makers.

    1. Even though I lean towards surface transit, I kind of agree with this. Having spent a fair amount of time in Chicago, those 9-10 lanes of Lakeshore drive is like a fording a river.

    2. “a Viaduct-like barrier”

      In what way is the viaduct a barrier to pedestrians trying to walk between downtown and the waterfront? Or to bicyclists? Or to vehicles?

      I drive on the viaduct all the time, and I have never seen a pedestrian walking across traffic lanes on the viaduct trying to get to or from the waterfront.

      I also have walked between downtown and the waterfront more than a few times, and never had to worry about the traffic on the viaduct creating a “barrier” for me.

      1. Seriously — for all that people love to moan about it, the viaduct hardly seems to be a barrier to pedestrians… (the use of the space under it for parking is hardly ideal, but that could easily be changed)

        As a pedestrian who’s spent my share of time walking around under the AWV, I rather like the viaduct — it gets cars up and out of my way, and even adds a nice bit of protection from the weather! The renderings I’ve seen of the “new improved” Alaskan Way look rather scarier (and less interesting) than the old one…

        Given the financial constraints, I’m not sure what solution to the current problem I really favor, but I’ve never quite understood the apparent assumption that the AWV is an obviously bad thing…

      2. Coming into Seattle on the ferry from Bainbridge a few weeks ago it was apparent that the removal of the viaduct will have a physical effect on the waterfront proper only over a very short distance. It’s either not on the waterfront or hidden by commercial buildings already. The additional surface traffic however will make all of DT worse for everybody.

      3. I am actually with Norman on this one… because people talk too loosely on this point.

        The Viaduct is noisy or presents a visual barrier for many Seattleites. It does not actually block any access, and actually provides a considerable amount of parking underneath.

        My other pet peeve is about the “lack” of pedestrians. Anyone heading down to the Waterfront right now (sunny summer afternoon) will not a pretty significant number of pedestrians along the waterfront.

        A significant barrier to use of our Waterfront by residents is that most of the activities there are currently tourist-focused. Taking down the Viaduct will not fix that problem. There will be several more steps to take after resolving the transportation issues.

    3. Katherine: That’s a great argument against 4 lanes in each direction. But it’s worth noting that the Embarcadero has a whopping 2 traffic lanes in each direction, and works pretty well. And the 2+1 in each direction on Octavia Blvd. works pretty well too.

      Also, there’s nothing in the Gehl analysis that argues for or argainst the tunnel. If you’re going to nod to Gehl, you should note his caveat that “Scenario F (i.e., the DBT) takes more traffic into the tunnel, but it also
      creates more surface traffic than G (4 lane cut-and-cover tunnel) and H (4 lane lidded trench).”

      Oh, and while we’re at it, I noticed these two points in Gehl’s concluding slide:

      – A scenario that provides high quality urban spaces is one that reduces traffic capacity in the city.

      – the pursuit of traffic capacity will not result in a city with optimal urban life. (emphasis Gehl’s)

      1. If Seattle actually looked at what other cities are doing, we would know that 2 lanes in each direction would be perfectly sufficient.

      2. TL, jr. – Lidded trench and cut/cover are no longer on the table, FYI.

        Oh, absolutely on the Gehl points. The tunnel in and of itself, and the removal of the Viaduct in and of itself, won’t achieve the pedestrian experience/Waterfront we want. However, it provides the OPPORTUNITY. It’s important to remember that as much as people get caught up in it, the tunnel is just a portion of the AWV replacement program which includes many other improvements, and is flexibile in capacity.

        To my point, though, the Gehl study says you really cannot have the ped experience/waterfront you want with the surface option. You cannot improve your way out of 30,00-50,000 vehicles on Alaskan Way. That is important, because it is missed in the referendum discussions.

  4. Is all this increased congestion on downtown Seattle surface streets good or bad for buses and streetcars?

    1. It depends on whether or not buses and streetcars are given dedicated right-of-way, as they are in the transit tunnel and on 3rd Avenue.

      1. Key: “transit TUNNEL” as in grade-separated. as in “deep-bored tunnel.” or “elevated”. as in “viaduct.”

        So, is the plan now to make every downtown surface street “tansit-only”, like 3rd Ave.? No viaduct, no deep-bored tunnel, and cars and trucks are not allowed on surface streets?

        Is that really the plan? If so, where do you expect the 110,000 cars and trucks which currently use the viaduct each day to go? All of them should shift to I-5?

      2. I hardly think that’s necessary. A big chunk of downtown service is on 3rd Ave already. Transit lanes on some of the other streets should be adequate for the rest. That’s what the S/T/I-5 plan looks like.

        The DBT is not helpful for transit access, as I described on Saturday.

      3. 85% of viaduct traffic is BYPASSING the central business district — they are NOT going to or from downtown. So, why put a lot of that traffic on downtown surface streets, with buses, streetcars, bicycles and pedestrians? What for?

        Isn’t it a lot better to get all that traffic off of surface streets, and up on a viaduct?

      4. I would argue that bypasses in general have a negative effect on cities. Whenever a bypass is built, it simply gives people an incentive to avoid the area being bypassed. The area being bypassed suffers economically because people are not driving by all the shops and restaurants and other businesses any more. Under the surface plan, some percentage of those people driving through downtown instead of around it will actually stop and spend money. Bypasses also encourage businesses to leave downtown and set up shop in outlying areas. Then those areas get congested and suddenly another bypass is needed! And that is how sprawl is born.

      5. Norman,
        According to WSDOTs own tolling study the DBT will only be taking roughly 1/4 of the current AWV traffic. The rest of those trips will take another route, mode, or disappear entirely.

  5. Martin – tolling a single link in a network is not a good idea. Tolling systemwide is fine.

    1. Say it loud, Ben – ALL internal combustion vehicles ought to pay pay a “congestion charge” south of Denny, west of about 15th ave and north of Spokane.

      1. Agree, a real CRC instead of a shotgun tab tax should be the go to method of funding transit service to DT.

    2. I agree that systemwide tolling is better, but this is like a HOT lane, providing an option for people that place a high monetary value on their time.

      1. I think what upsets people is that a HOT lane simply takes one lane out of a highway that has already been built for everyone, whereas this would be a huge $4 billion project only for that subset of the population that places a high value on their time, which usually means wealthier people. So the charge that this is spending a lot of taxpayer money to benefit a small wealthy group is accurate.

        If they tolled all the highways in the area and used the money for transit it would be a lot more fair. People who are willing to pay to save time could take the highways, people who aren’t can take surface streets, and people who don’t want to deal with paying tolls or driving in congestion would be able to take transit.

    3. Exactly. Tolls encourage the use of alternatives. If untolled highways are available, the main effect is diversion.

      1. If the other corridors have infinite capacity, but in this case congestion there will drive some people to alternatives. Having the toll reduces the total car traffic entering/through downtown incomparison to not having a toll.

    1. Unpopular compared to what? Gas tax, car tab, etc. That is the real question.

      The 520 tolling survey showed 2/3 acceptance of tolls as a way to finance transportation investment, in this case 520.

      http://1.usa.gov/pipOpG

  6. Translation: Tolling is good fir Millionaires and Billionaires in their limos heading to their orivate jets at Boeing Field …

    1. Or a freight truck driver with high hourly costs, or someone who’s late to work this particular morning and needs to get to Sodo in a jiffy…

      1. Freight truck driver? Not going in the tunnel. It’s still a crap-shoot. And actually as far as I can recall we found most of them use I-5 anyway.

        Someone going to SODO in a jiffy? They still need to contend with portal traffic — enough snarls and you can be guaranteed that they’ll be diverted eventually.

        Look at the configuration in relation to the rest of the system. It’s not conducive to the kind of kumbaya traffic you’re suggesting. They’re carving this out of an existing grid without fixing things down there.

    2. You’re right, Will. Why not then just make the ferries free for all cars? And while we’re at it, why then shouldn’t the state general fund pick up the costs of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the 520 replacement?

  7. I don’t give a damn about deterring people, being punitive, reducing roadway capacity, any of that. None of that will work with the public, better to have a positive message and work to provide high-quality transit, and transportation in general. Tolling can be part of that as it provides a revenue source and a less-congested highway.

    1. Thats a message that gets lost on this crowd. Transit should be able to compete on its own, and not have people forced from other modes onto it (in referrance to both alaskan way, and those who beilieve that everything should go out of its way to feed onto link). In regards to tolling, it should be variable. .50 or whatever in the wee hours of the morning to $5 during the peak commute. with the tunnel, since it’s so short the toll should not be overly high to encourage total diversion, but reasonable enough to encourage people to pay the toll if they must go through downtown instead of diverting onto city streets. With 520, etc, theres lesser options, but until I-90 is tolled thats the way it should be as well.

      1. There’s a problem: transit can’t compete “on its own” against the huge network of free, subsidized, and mandated driving facilities that we have built with tax dollars. So transit is subsidized, also with tax dollars, because we think it’s an important service.

        You may imagine a system where all road maintenance was paid for by road users, and the government did not provide any free parking. You might imagine that transit would be a lot more “competitive”.

        I’ve read that in at least some parts of Japan car owners are required to prove that they have a parking space of their own (as opposed to the US, where residential buildings are required to have parking built-in). Some people have parking built into their homes; others rent spaces in private lots. It’s claimed that this system, which gives people the freedom not to pay for parking but not the ability to freeload through on-street parking, results in a lower rate of car ownership and driving in Japanese cities. I’m not knowledgeable enough to verify the factual claims, nor to endorse the claim of causality, but it sounds likely enough.

        My point is that competition doesn’t happen in a vacuum, with inevitable winners and losers. Competition happens in a marketplace with rules that we make. We can choose the rules by examining their likely consequences, and when consequences are unintended, for better or worse, we can study them to inform our future choices. We probably need to change the rules so they’re not so slanted towards driving, because some of the biggest challenges facing our society are largely a result of mass auto use… but, of course, we have to do so carefully.

      2. I wouldent exactly say “Free” driving facilitys, we all pay for them one way or another. First off, Transit has to be competitive and a sustainabile and viabile alternative. Headlines about cutbacks do not make the service any more attractive, and if anything scare off potential riders since they dont know if the bus will be there tommorw. secondly, in this country there is no such thing as a car free lifestyle. The notion that we can simply throw our automobiles away and use alternative modes of transportation are simply not true. Devlopement patterns over the past 70 years preclude that. A balence is what is needed in this country, and we cannot have a proper balence unless we make our transit systems viable, sustainable, and cometitive against the automobile. We shouldent alienate those who choose to drive in our urban areas, however through proper tolling, and land use policies preventing surface and above ground parking in the city it will drive up the cost of driving in the city through more “natural” means and make transit – if its useable and viable – an attractive option. The free market has a lot of pull, proper public policy helps steer that pull, but if left up to its own devices with guidance i think it will do a LOT better than any mandadted schemes will in this country.

  8. Tolling is bad, it is second-worst to a gas tax. Tolls and gas taxes are regressive taxation. Meaning, the people who will likely be deterred from burning fossil fuels will be the financially weaker population that is struggling already.

    So while healthy, middle-class Seattle “progressives” could feel good about themselves for commuting each day on their bike, and in their smug self righteousness think people who don’t do the same are lazy. Others, who have been pushed out of urban centers by rising living costs, and depend on I-5 to get to a job that feeds them are the first that are going to suffer from tolls.

    Let’s not build our fancy multi-modal transport infrastructure on the backs of under-served populations. The answer is *progressive* taxation (ie income tax). Pay your share.

    — A bike-riding, non-car-owner Seattlite.

    1. A progressive income tax would be best, but there is a long tradition of “user fees” to pay for transportation in this country, and I don’t think that will go away. Tolls are good because they both raise revenue and manage traffic so that additional capacity is unnecessary. They are regressive, but that can be managed the same way any regressive taxation should be managed–through direct voucher payments to low-income people. Short of a magic tolling system that can read your income level as you drive past the sensors and adjust the toll to what you can afford, direct payments or vouchers are the way to go.

      1. You are possibly right. Although I shudder to think of the overhead such a voucher system would introduce. Unless there is something equivalent already in place.

    2. I see your point but the whole reason tolls are good is because they very specifically assign a price to the use of a good (physically and temporally). It accomplishes two public policy goals. Raises revenue like other revenue sources but it also manages demand and reduces congestion. The latter is something no other revenue source can do.

      The question of who benefits or loses is complex and probably varies from case to case. For example people commuting downtown and parking are already paying 20+ dollars a day for parking, hardly something affordable for low income workers.

    3. I considered a post along the lines of this, though not as polemical. I basically agree with you in a certain sense — calling gas taxes and tolls the “best” way to fund road construction projects is only true under a narrow meaning of “best”. They come closer to correctly allocating the costs of road construction and use than building the roads from general income and sales tax receipts. But they’re way too regressive to be a fair solution. That deserves to be said with more emphasis, maybe more polemically, as you did. It amounts to achieving urbanist goals on the backs of the poor. The problem is, as you say, compounded in our region, where many people are pushed to the exurbs by high housing prices in the inner city, driven by zoning restrictions in inner neighborhoods.

      Still, the economic incentives to drive created by government policy, and the complete failure to account economically for environmental externalities of driving, are huge forces causing high US pollution. One of our strongest moral obligations, period, is to cut carbon emissions drastically. Is there a way to provide the right economic incentives without unfairly burdening people? Yes, but only with a broader base of reform. Vouchers for low-income people may help, but can’t solve the whole problem.

      Consider a high fuel tax (including power plant fuel, industrial fuels, etc… EVs and construction projects should pay as is fair), necessary so there’s an incentive for lower carbon emissions. It could be combined with a per-head refund making it revenue-neutral, so money is distributed from large energy users to small, while the state collects money from a progressive income tax. This is only fair, of course, if most people have choices about where to live — otherwise the fuel tax is a wealth transfer from poor to rich. This means we need to address land use, we need to have affordable housing in the inner neighborhoods of Seattle. Clearly some of these policies need to be implemented gradually so as not to cause shocks to whole groups of people that have made choices based on availability of cheap fuel. Zoning restrictions, however, could largely be changed immediately, because the housing units are still added gradually by private developers. And, as always, no scheme is perfect — we have to keep an eye on what’s happening and pay attention to people’s struggles and concerns.

    4. Well, the weakest are completely insulated from both taxes — they don’t have cars.

      Do you think reducing fuel consumption is important, or don’t you? Because it isn’t going to happen if we don’t change the behavior of a lot of people, more than those that are going to choose to take transit out of some sort of sense of duty.

      1. Good point. When people make the argument that poor people will be hurt because they have to drive, what they really mean is that a slice of moderately poor people who can afford a car will be hurt. The extremely poor can’t afford to have a car, or if they can they are driving a beater that is unreliable anyway. The best thing we can do for the poor is to give them more transportation alternatives to owning a car, and making housing near transit more affordable.

      2. @zef: It’s not just the extremely poor. It’s very hard for middle-middle class families to afford housing in areas with good transit service in the Puget Sound region. This isn’t something that we can change overnight by policy — it takes time and money to build housing. For that reason, changing the cost of driving overnight by policy is totally unfair.

        If we make land use reforms, secure stable transit funding, and gradually raise a gas tax, the grounds for complaint are much less than if we suddenly change the status quo by instituting a toll on a couple of roads.

      3. Transportation costs always find their way to the consumer. Fuel costs are offset at a rate far lower than either gas taxes or tolls. It’s a fundamental fact of the transportation industry.

        Food is often more expensive in places with regressive transportation funding schemes.

    5. You need to add the sales tax as well, not only is it unstable, but even more regressive than gasoline or tolls. And actually, i’m in favor of the gas tax and think it should be expanded. Not only for fuel price control but it does encourage transit use where available, and encourage the use of energy efficient vehicles while not going so far as “outlawing” anything. Also, speaking of taxes the whole license plate and tab system needs a total overhaul for all vehciles, and based on their use and even mileage for some vehicles.

    1. You’ll all be glad to hear of this news from the article above:

      “Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct, with the wear-and-tear of the years and the damage of a 2001 earthquake, was demolished in February 2011”

      :P

  9. I think the problem people have with tolls is that the fewer people use the tunnel, the harder it becomes to justify it as opposed to surface-transit.

    1. I don’t think these tolls will contribute to people driving less, so much as forcing them to disperse outward…maybe even to other parts of the state.

      Looking at the weather forecasts for Pasco, and it’s beautiful scenery, extensive, flat-level bicycle path network, low cost of housing and so much more, I would expect that new business would leave the overtolled and overtaxed areas just as what happened in New York City when businesses went to Route 1 in New Jersey and Long Island.

      http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/Pasco+WA+99301

  10. I just have a few comments:

    First of all: I don’t think bypasses are necessarily bad for cities. Why force Ballard, West Seattle, and other residents who just need to commute to go downtown? Bypasses also reduce congestion on surface streets.

    Second: I think freight should get a free pass on the tunnel, to encourage its use. Maybe a future project can improve access to Interbay in the north.

    Last: While I see some of the merits and problems with the current viaduct, I don’t think the benefits outweigh the negatives. It’s a vestige of decay and grittiness in and of itself, which might seem charming, but it’s not something that warrants celebration. Without the viaduct, numerous building fronts will have to be beautified, homeless hangouts will move elsewhere, and parking will be moved as well, hopefully underground. In the far future, I’d like to see an elevated rail line where the viaduct is now. It’ll be smaller, less obstructive, and won’t provide the shelter to shady dealings that the current structure does.

    The one thing I WILL miss about the viaduct is the view FROM it.

    1. Why force Ballard, West Seattle, and other residents who just need to commute to go downtown? Bypasses also reduce congestion on surface streets.

      Sure, a bypass helps the people who want to use it, just like a grade-separated transit line does. But is it worth the cost? Are there really enough commuters who want to go from Ballard to West Seattle?

      Second: I think freight should get a free pass on the tunnel, to encourage its use. Maybe a future project can improve access to Interbay in the north.

      The current project, for $4 billion, provides zero connectivity to Interbay, which is where the freight needs to go. You could pay trucks to use the tunnel, and most of them would still use the surface Alaskan Way, since they’re not going to Aurora. You can’t reasonably use freight as a justification for this project when, as currently designed, it’s already too expensive *and* it’s useless for freight.

      1. Ha, good point! No one would ever suggest running Sounder through downtown without stopping…that would be stupid! But suggest a highway with no downtown exits…that’s apparently a great idea!

  11. Oh the anti tolling initiative contains language which tries to prevent ST from using I-90 for LINK. Which makes this a two issue initiative and thus void no matter who votes for it.

    Any thoughts over here at STBlog on that?

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