Ross: Turn the express lanes over to Ticketmaster

Oct 16, 2023, 7:28 AM | Updated: 10:27 am

(Getty Images)...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

As we heard last week, the State Transportation Department (DOT) is considering liberating the Express Toll Lanes on Interstate 405. The demand is so high they want to test the market and let the maximum float up to $18.

I say, turn the lanes over to Ticketmaster! They’ll find out what the market will bear!

Anyway, judging from the discussion in The Seattle Times comment section, this is not a popular idea.

There were the usual complaints about government money grabs and the futility of adding new lanes – but there were a few thoughtful responses, including one from a reader who calls himself “The Pessimist.”

He wrote “…just live close to work, or work close to home. It’s what my wife and I do and we each earn six figures so it’s not like we’ve sacrificed economic opportunity to accomplish it.”

Well, you can imagine the reaction to that. Of course! If you’re both earning six figures you can live as close to work as you want!

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But I think the point he’s making is that too many of us never consider the commute when we accept a job or buy a house.

It may be too late for people who are already settled in – but you young people have time to do it right. You need to understand that this highway system is NEVER going to be finished. The maintenance and rebuilding schedule stretches from here to the moon. So, don’t sign those mortgage papers until you rehearse your future commute, during rush hour in a rain squall. Then check the DOT web page to see if any long-range projects are scheduled for your route.

And if you’re offered a better job? Don’t just look at the salary – examine the commuting costs. If a 20% raise means spending 50% more time stuck in traffic, is it really a promotion? Maybe that’s why your predecessor quit.

The Pessimist’s ground rules for house shopping are: NO neighborhoods with any bridges, tunnels, prospective tunnels, or ferries between the house and the workplace.  And the same rule for any job switch. He says that by following those rules, his commute is 15 minutes each way – by bicycle.

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Clearly an overachiever. But as a compromise, I would say if you can’t be near your job, then choose to live in a place where there are at least SOME necessities you can walk to. A school. A grocery store. A library. A thrift shop. A psychologist. A stadium. Anything so you’re not completely car-bound.

By the way – the best part about living near a stadium is not only the free parking for every game, but just about every weekend you can charge strangers a hundred bucks to use your lawn.

Dave Ross is on Seattle’s Morning News, weekdays from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio.

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Ross: Turn the express lanes over to Ticketmaster