Are you ready to pay tolls on the I-90 bridge?October 11, 2013 @ 1:22 pm (Updated: 10:15 pm - 10/20/13 )
I have one question for you: Are you ready to pay tolls on the I-90 bridge?
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.
If they pursue that vision, they would have a transponder on every single car and if you go to the grocery store in your neighborhood at midnight, driving just neighborhood surface streets, they said, well then it would only be a 10-cent toll. And if you drive on I-5 into downtown Seattle during morning or afternoon rush hour, it might be a $7 toll.
So I got this plan leaked to me and I told everybody about it on the air. We had government officials who were calling our management saying Monson is out of control, Monson's an extremist. But I knew there was a plan. I knew it. I had great sources.
I said then, here's how it's going to play out. The first thing they're going to do, is they're going to try to get transponders on as many cars as possible to make people comfortable with the idea of the automated tolling. The next thing they're going to do, is do it for new construction projects. Then, they're going to add it to existing roads, 405, 167. They'd start with the HOT lanes, but eventually it will be for every lane.
Now, we find out once again that while the public is adamantly opposed to I-90 tolling, that still is the preferred plan for our state department of transportation.
They're upset that so few people are driving on 520 with the toll there, and they want to make sure they can collect their money from everybody in the region, so next up would be I-90.
So what they're saying right now is you've got to pick, because we don't have enough money to build the 520 bridge based on just the tolls. We need more money is what they're saying, and if you don't give us tolls on I-90, we'll have to do regional or statewide gas tax increases. So pick your poison.
Of course, my preferred approach would be for them to live within their means and to not build projects that are beyond the scope of what people can afford.
But beyond that, mark my words, if they do pursue this plan to put tolls on I-90 - I will tell you, right now they're in the public comment period. They say we're listening to the public, and we know how opposed people are to I-90 tolls - but they're going to push for it because this is yet another step in what is about a 25-year vision to extract as much money from all of us as possible.
The gas tax - they don't like that because they've got people like me, I'm driving this hybrid electric vehicle now, I'm getting 200 miles per gallon. I just put a tank of gas in last week for the first time in two and a half months, and they recognize that as cars get more fuel efficient, they're not collecting as much from the gas tax. They tell us that it's a good thing to be fuel efficient, but then they punish us for being fuel efficient.
I've been right about every single thing I've ever told you about this issue, mark my words on this.
Tolling is what they want. The tolling is what they've been pushing for years, and years, and years, ever since this Puget Sound master plan was circulated eight or nine years ago.
It's inevitable unless people are aware that is the plan. If you don't like it - if you don't want to be tolled now on the major arterials ... be aware of it. Be aware this is the plan.
And know that if you just sit by and say, 'Well I never drive across the lake, so I don't care if they have tolls on 520. I don't care if they add tolls to I-90.' Just understand, you're part of the problem then, if you just sit back and think it's not going to affect you. Because what they want is a comfort level with transponders and they want complacency. That is the push.
Taken from Friday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.
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