The Luke Burbank Show - 10am on KIRO Radio
Luke Burbank

Luke Burbank: Why tolling I-90 is unfair

tolls_I90_notolls_daveross.jpg
KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank argues tolling I-90 unfairly limits access to thousands of struggling drivers who can't afford it. (Dave Ross/KIRO Radio image) | Zoom
While many Mercer Islanders are up in arms over talk of tolling I-90 between Seattle and the Eastside, KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank argues the toll would be unfair to thousands of others on both sides of the water.

The state is considering the tolls to help cover a $1.4 billion shortfall on the new SR 520 bridge. But Burbank calls it an "access issue," arguing many simply couldn't afford what could mean possibly $10 a day.

"I mean that's a couple hundred bucks a month. I mean there are a lot of people that the line - and I have been this person at times in my life - the line between making it, paying your bills, is $200 or $100 every month."

Burbank says it's only fair to continue allowing at least one toll-free road across Lake Washington, rather than requiring drivers to head through Renton or Kenmore to avoid the tolls.

He insists he's not opposed to increasing other fees like car tabs or taxes that take people's finances into consideration, like the housekeepers who have to travel from South Seattle to a luxury hotel in Bellevue.

"If you drive a nice car, a $40,000, $50,000, $70,000 car, I think you can afford to pay a little more on your tabs than somebody who's driving an old beater," Burbank says. "You can't just increase the gas tax because a lot of people have to drive far to work and can't afford it."

But what about commuters in other parts of our state like those forced to pay tolls crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge or riding ferries across the Puget Sound?

Burbank, whose parents live in Silverdale, argues that's different because they knew "what they were getting into" when they moved there.

"I think just basically putting a huge sign up on Lake Washington that says 'You shall not pass unless you have $10 you can spare right now,' I worry what that means for access."

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Tune in
Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 10am for The Luke Burbank Show.



In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.