Section 6 of HB 2527

Republican legislators in Olympia have introduced House Bill 2575, a bill which would do many of the same things that Tim Eyman’s failed I-1125 initiative would have done.

The bill, which to me looks to be DOA due to lack of sponsorship from any Democrats, would limit the use of toll revenues only to paying for capital construction costs, require that tolls be removed once bonds are paid off, would not allow the transfer to toll revenues from one facility to another (I-90 to SR-520 for example), and would eliminate WSDOTs ability to use variable tolls.

All of these changes are for the worst and fly in the face of adopted long range regional transportation policy.

25 Replies to “HB 2575: Eyman’s I-1125 Repackaged”

  1. What possible argument is there against variable tolls? Republicans supposedly like market pricing.

    1. The main argument for me is the fact that it’s the most expensive means of collecting revenue the state has ever devised.
      HOT lanes on SR167 are just now breaking even. Think about that! All the revenue collected for the last 3 years have not generated one cent towards maintaining the roadway. It all went towards collecting the tax.
      The DBT and SR520 are estimated to cost about 1/3 of the tax generated to pay for the cost of collections. That’s many millions of dollars gone to for nothing in the best case, and could be much worse. Even then, the rest of the revenue will go to banks and Wall St. to pay off bonds for these mega projects that the region keeps conjuring up, with no way to pay for them.
      If the toll is to build a bridge, then it’s a major failure! If controlling travel behavior through variable taxing, without regard for where the revenue extracted from the economy goes, then it’s a brilliant success.

      1. And the hot lanes are only just now making money because they moved the bulk of the cost for administering the system to the SR520 tolling project. Yes, usage is up somewhat, but the bigger effect is they moved the cost to SR520.

        Basically the HOT lanes have been a failure, and without being part of a larger tolling system they would still be a failure.

        That said, I don’t know why the R’s would even bother proposing this bill as we just voted the same thing down.

      2. “Even then, the rest of the revenue will go to banks and Wall St. to pay off bonds for these mega projects that the region keeps conjuring up, with no way to pay for them.”

        Is it just me or that statement nonsensical?

      3. The purpose of the HOT lanes was never to provide a profit, but rather add capacity and test the concept for future projects.

        With those goals in mind, I think they succeeded. The overall commute on 167 is now faster for everyone, and HOT lanes are going to be added to I-405.

        I fail to see what is wrong with providing additional commute choices, even if they don’t always turn an immediate profit.

      4. That would be a case AGAINST government outsourcing eh? Why “waste” money allowing the private sector to do something the Government could do cheaper?

        Or we could do something worse like what is being done in the Chicago area and selling the infrastructure lock stock and barrel to private enterprise. Namely, the I-90 Skyway Bridge, ALL of Chicago’s parking meters and Chicago’s Midway airport have been sold or are up for sale. City reaps a very large windfall (e.g. parking meters netted over $1 Billion) but then loses important revenue streams in the future and the citizens are “enslaved” to ever increasing tolls which no longer benefit the common weal.

      5. HOT lanes don’t add capacity — they just move capacity from one application to another.

        And I’d rather work on reducing demand in any case. The SR520 tolls have worked wonders locally. If the current trends continue, then an aggressive expansion of local tolling would certainly provide more benefits then more HOT lanes.

      6. So you’re against tolls in general, then? It has always cost money to collect tolls, whether it’s electronically or manually. Making the tolls variable doesn’t increase the cost of collecting them.

      7. The overhead for tolling will take up less of revenues as it is more widely adopted. As said below, it’s the fairest way to get people to pay for projects. A simple option would be a hike in MVET and gas taxes, but if memory serves, people are even more against those.

        The great thing about tolling is that it puts economy front and center in people’s driving decisions. It actually gets fewer people to take a congested route. Variable tolling is a key aspect of congestion relief, so this bill, like Eyman’s failed initiative would do nothing for the tolling overhead, and screw up it’s benefits.

      8. @lazarus

        “HOT lanes don’t add capacity — they just move capacity from one application to another.”

        That actually isn’t true in two ways. First for SR-167 the old HOV had excess capacity that wasn’t used because there weren’t enough carpools and buses to fully utilize the capacity, so in that case the existing capacity wasn’t used. Allowing SOVs to use the HOT lanes increase the effective capacity of the roadway.

        Second “capacity” isn’t a fixed number. When a roadway becomes congested the effective capacity of the road, i.e. the number of cars that actually pass a point in the road, drops. While the amount varies a highly congested roadway can for example have half the effective capacity compared to what the theoretical capacity is. Because of this, HOT lanes, which manage demand and keep traffic traveling closer to the theoretical speed/capacity can actually increase the capacity of a roadway as a whole.

      9. @ABP,

        I made no distinction between “excess capacity” and generic “capacity”. And just because there might be excess capacity in the HOV lanes doesn’t mean that we should view this as an opportunity to increase capacity for SOV’s at the expense of capacity for transit.

        Your arguments that HOT lanes actually increase total capacity of the roadway are nothing new. Such arguments have been made for decades by those arguing for greater SOV access to the HOV lanes. Often the argument is for outright conversion of the HOV lanes to general traffic lanes, but the HOT lane concept is just the latest flavor of this line of attack.

        Additionally, total capacity should be measured in people moved and not in vehicles moved. It’s a lot less clear which concept is most beneficial when the focus is on moving people and not on moving vehicles.

        However, I think we will see a continuing chipping away at our bus system and on the HOV lanes that help it work effectively. I suspect in 20 years the HOV lanes will be a thing of the past.

        Which is why I want more rail in this region….I know of no rail line that has been converted to a joint use HOT lane….

    2. I think its more that they are trying to head off future tolling on I-90 (to help fund 520) and HOT lanes on I-405 (requires variable tolls) without explicit saying you can’t toll I-90 or I-405.

      1. No, I think Republicans like these just hate everything government so much that they will say or do anything they can to screw things up, to make messes that they believe will cause other people to also turn against government.

    1. I hope they do what it best by the people and the State. Coincidentally that just happens to be what the people said as well… in this instance.

      1. Thanks Matt.

        This “Will of the People” BS is nothing more than rhetoric. The “Will of the People” is “no traffic, no tolls, free parking, and a pony.”

  2. Obviously the bill is DOA but as the way these things go, they are trying to set up a wedge issue for the coming elections. Appealing to the “selfish are us” behavior. It will not be enough to simply defeat this measure in the legislature. Progressives need to get messaging out there that tolls, when implemented fairly and correctly, benefit us all and, if necessary, point out that outsourcing of governmental operations (as often demanded by conservatives) is frequently wasteful of taxpayer’s money.

    1. Charles, I totally agree. I support tolling as a user fee to pay for megaprojects, their maintenance and also because I resent the thought that Skagit County – which pays more in taxes than in services – should have gas tax money pay for absolutely necessary King County megaprojects due to Eymanism. Furthermore, at some point, the Deception Pass Bridge & possibly the Duane Berentson Bridge will have to be replaced in my lifetime (at least partially) in my county and I support tolling on those as well.

      Nobody is talking about tolling average streets and every single project, right? Ergo, this must make sense!

  3. This puts the lie to the notion that:
    *Eyman is all about saving us from Olympia
    *The reason why Olympia passes its own versions of Eyman’s initiatives once they’re shot down by the courts is because they’re scared of the will of the people

    Hopefully enough people see this news. Maybe some of Eyman’s supporters will reconsider their stance once they see legislators pushing an Eyman initiative in a context where they could only be pushing their own agenda, and realize that Olympia really wouldn’t suck up all their money if it weren’t for the people telling them not to, while Eyman opponents will start to see the larger complex Eyman, and Olympia, operates in.

  4. “Toll Tax” = “Poll Tax” and the founding fathers hated it from old europe.

    I can’t understand why Republi-scum don’t love Tolls (poll taxing).


Comments are closed.