The Washington State Department of Transportation will be bringing a portion of westbound I-90 down to one lane next week. The lane closures are expected to cause 10-mile backups. While WSDOT says the closure is about replacing aging expansion joints, KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson has another theory.
“The real reason they’re doing this is because they want every single person in this region eventually to get a Good to Go pass,” said Monson in a blog post Monday.
This fits into a larger theory Dori has about the state’s plans to bring widespread tolling to the region.
“About eight years ago, I had a source who leaked to me a master Puget Sound area transportation plan. The plan being circulated at the highest levels of King County was examining widespread tolling throughout the region. The tolling would be not just for new construction projects like the downtown Seattle tunnel and 520 bridge, but widespread tolling.
In fact, one incarnation of the plan, as it was detailed and leaked to me, was tolls on every single road in the region, 24 hours a day.”
On Tuesday’s show, Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson appeared to discuss the upcoming closure on I-90. Dori shared his theory with her then and asked for her response. Here’s how that went:
Dori Monson: My grand conspiracy theory, Secretary Peterson: I believe this is a manufactured crisis to force people, out of desperation – we’re talking about a 10-mile backup all the way to Issaquah. People are going to be desperate to get across the lake, and out of desperation, people who otherwise might not get a Good to Go pass might get it so they can use 520 next week.
Then, they’re in the system, and then it’s easier to reel them in when you add the hot lanes and when you expand tolling, which I know is coming full bore. I believe this is a manufactured crisis to force people into the Good to Go system. I wanted to give you a chance to respond to that.
Lynn Peterson: If I had time to think up grand conspiracy theories—
Monson: I’ve got nothing but time to think of those things—
Peterson: I guess what I would just want to assure the citizens of Washington, that this is not about growing the Good to Go program, it is about getting the maintenance and operations work done on our really, really important assets, during a very constrained amount of time, the summer months, so that we can actually have it working for the rest of the year.
And yes it does create delays, and it is something that we try, like we talked about, to get the information out ahead of time so people can plan ahead. But we do have a limited amount of capacity on roadways, and when we reduce it, there is a lot of delay for the traveling public and we really work to minimize that impact by getting that information out ahead of time.
After the interview, Dori said he’s still sticking with his conspiracy theory.