October 25, 2011
I-1125 is not the right answer for tolls
Initiative 1125 is one of those ballot measures that does so much more than put limits on what can and cannot be done with gas taxes and toll revenues. It’s one more initiative that screams, “We don’t trust our elected representatives to run the state!”
We get that sentiment, and encourage voters to hold their representatives accountable.
Tim Eyman’s I-1125 ballot measure is supposedly about reinforcing laws already on the books. It makes assumptions that the Legislature has run amok, bending rules on road tolls and taxes. It covers state bids and contracts for vessel dry-docks and goes on to specify that there will be no tollbooths. And then it slips in a little wiggle that stops light rail from expanding across Lake Washington via Interstate 90.
I-1125 limits road tolls to funding of a project — only.
Nobody likes a road toll, but when the Evergreen Point Bridge tolls begin, the I-90 clog is sure to be worse than a stopped-up toilet. It’s possible that drivers on I-90 will be begging for equal tolling just to get back to today’s usual commuter gridlock. Do we want a red light on that option?
Eyman says tolls are just another name for a new tax. Yup. But aren’t user fees more equitable than across-the-board tax increases?
1-1125 says tolling rates must be determined by the Legislature, not an appointed commission. Good golly, why would we trust the Legislature to ever agree on a toll rate? We prefer depoliticizing the decision.
Most of all, those here on the Eastside voted along with the rest of the region to fund light rail from Seattle to Bellevue and beyond. If this option is off the table, do we get back our share of taxes paid?
I-1125 is misleading at best, convoluted for sure. Vote no.