What’s your opinion about Interstate 90 tolling?

February 14, 2013

By Staff

The Washington State Department of Transportation is preparing an environmental assessment that will evaluate the effects of tolling Interstate 90 between Seattle and Bellevue.

WSDOT’s public comment period ends Feb. 22. Comments can be submitted directly to WSDOT online www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/I90/HowtoComment.htm.

In addition, Issaquah’s mayor and City Council are drafting a letter to WSDOT on Issaquah’s perspective related to tolling I-90. Before sending a final version of the letter, the council is holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in Council Chambers, 135 E. Sunset Way.

Learn more about the plan at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/I90.


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19 Responses to “What’s your opinion about Interstate 90 tolling?”

  1. Jay Rusling on February 14th, 2013 8:31 am

    The 520 toll was specifically initiated to help pay for the new bridge. It is a legitimate user fee.

    Imposing a toll on I 90 is only a revenue grab. It is a tax no matter what you call it! This will hurt a lot of people who can ill afford additional transportation costs. NO ON I 90 TOLL!

  2. David Harris on February 14th, 2013 9:04 am

    Tolling any road is a regressive form of taxation. Citizens should be able to freely travel on any public road.
    Road maintenance and construction costs should be covered by vehicle licence fees and fuel tax.
    Tolling I-90 will disproportionally affect the poor, those retired and on a fixed income, hinder and increase the cost of commerce, diminish inter city travel and subject those who have to commute daily with a huge financial burden and no alternative free route to travel.
    All in all it’s another stupid bureacratic idea.

  3. Bea Fox on February 14th, 2013 10:49 am

    If the DOT is planning on putting tolls on I90 they should also increase the number of buses on that route, since ridership would most likely increase. These tolls will be a problem for students going to Bellevue College, as well as all the individuals who travel into Seattle on a daily basis for work.

    If they toll the highway I would also hope that they would quickly build Park & ride structures in South Bellevue and on Mercer Island to accommodate the number of bus riders who will be forced to take the bus.

    I strongly object to these tolls and really don’t see them impacting the number of cars going in and out of Seattle. In these times of financial burden it would only impact negatively on the middle class.

  4. Smoley on February 14th, 2013 1:15 pm

    I see a parallel with adding tolls on bridges to the recent plastic bag ban.

    With the toll on 520, enough people were willing to take longer routes and sit in more traffic in order to avoid the toll. Similarly, you’ll soon see Issquah shoppers going to other neighboring cities to do their shopping where they won’t be charged for bags.

    In both cases, our government in its infinite wisdom has failed to recognize that people will seek alternatives against unpopular legislation. Assuming that people will go grumble but go along with it is foolish.

    So now they are realizing this and trying to eliminate your choice to drive out of your way to avoid their poor decisions. Tell them “NO!” and let you choose whether to pay the toll or pay for your bags versus a bit more driving.

  5. wayne nahuy on February 14th, 2013 1:38 pm

    If say the 520 toll is $3.00 the toll if any for I-90 should be only $1.00 perspectively and Olny imposed on vehicles using it more than say 3 times each month collected every six months by billing cycle so people can still drive ocasionally unimpeaded by such things as say… travelers!

  6. Stephanie on February 14th, 2013 2:04 pm

    Tolling I90 is a bid to increase revenue for the state agency, DOT and the state of Washington. Increasing revenue in this manner is a form of taxation to the citizens of Washington. And in this case, taxation without approval from the people of this state.

    I would vote No if this ever came up for a vote.

  7. Eric on February 14th, 2013 4:02 pm

    Tolling I-90 will further divide Seattle from the eastside. It might work to toll I-90 to pay for 520 for the next 50 years, but what do we tax (oops, collect usage fee) when we need to repair I-90 in the future?

    I suspect that eastside residents will shift to Eastside businesses. A $7.50 round trip toll and $10-$20 Seattle parking costs should reduce the number of trips across the bridge. If you live on Mercer Island, you will finally have a chance to know what living on an island is really all about! Of course on the upside, tolling I-90 might reduce traffic enough to eliminate the need for the viaduct or viaduct tunnel! It is now fashionable to call increased taxes ‘usage fees’ as all politicians beat the ‘this is not a tax increase’ drum. To be consistent, why do we not look to parents of students to fund public schools through ‘usage fees’?

  8. Smoley on February 15th, 2013 10:01 am

    I’m a proponent of use-based fees and taxes, so I have no problem with the concept of tolling.

    What I do have a problem with is that I-90 is being tolled to make up a $1.4B shortfall in revenue for the 520 bridge replacement. This is simply a money grab. It’s not the fault of the drivers using the I-90 bridge that the DOT doesn’t know how to make proper revenue projections for a construction project.

    If the tolls on 520 aren’t generating the expected revenue, then change them (and it just might be that lowering the tolls would net more revenue).

    In the end they could toll every entrance/exit to Seattle and it won’t matter much to me. I live and work on the east side and have zero reason to go to Seattle with its lousy parking, increased crime and panhandling, and unfriendliness towards families.

  9. Russ on February 15th, 2013 11:16 am

    This whole tolling thing is just the latest manifestation of a broken state funding system. It isn’t just a debacle for roads or the DOT it includes state parks, the department of licensing (unless you think wasting your time in their lines is productive), poorly funded schools, outrageous tuition rises at public universities, etc.

    This toll masquerades as a user fee when it will only have immense adverse ripple effects around the lake, the eastside, and do rather little to improve revenue streams. Has anyone noticed how botched the 520 tolling program has been? Net revenue will surely be a fraction of expectations – again.

  10. Souleymane Ali on February 16th, 2013 8:38 am

    Tolling 520 created a huge congestion on I-90. Tolling I-90 will create a bigger and unpleasant congestion on the street roads. Because many drivers will always try to avoid paying unnecessary additional tax for road maintenance. Please, no tolling on I-90.

  11. linda on February 18th, 2013 8:08 am

    I’ve already paid for the I-90 bridge. I don’t think the people of Washington State should be penalized because our “leaders” can’t manage our State budget. I have lived in Seattle all of my life and now look forward to leaving this State and it ‘s Govt. behind. Instead of the Evergreen State our City leaders should remane WA. the Tax State!

  12. Jeff on February 18th, 2013 8:39 am

    Vote “NO” on the very idea of this new tax. This is politicians pushing something through against the will of the voters (again). How about we make due with what we have for a while and not worry about these huge (expensive) projects. Is the new 520 bridge even going to float considering the already problematic leaks? Who would pay full retail for a boat with holes in it?

  13. MP on February 18th, 2013 1:04 pm

    No tolling on I-90. What is the rationale for taxing commuters on one bridge to pay for the revenue shortfall of another bridge? Why not increase the length of time it takes to pay back the debt by continuing to toll 520? Why not float construction bonds? Why not increase government efficiency and reduce expenses elsewhere in the state to pay for the shortfall? Keep WA a low tax state.

  14. Frederick Brown on February 18th, 2013 1:55 pm

    I’ve already paid for the I-90 bridge. I don’t think the people of Washington State should be penalized because our “leaders” can’t manage our State budget. I have lived in Seattle all of my life and now look forward to leaving this State and it ‘s Govt. behind. Instead of the Evergreen State our City leaders should remane WA. the Tax State!

  15. CW on February 18th, 2013 3:19 pm

    Somewhere…I heard that “INTERSTATE” highways were exempt from tolls because they were partially funded by the Federal government…….True or False????

  16. Bob Oppie on February 19th, 2013 10:07 am

    I-90 is a Federal Hwy. Is it even legal to toll it unless the money goes for mainainence? I believe the DOT had this Ace up their sleeve all along. They low balled the cost of SR-520 with the expectation of having I-90 as their default money grabber. On the one hand I say Toll, Toll, Toll I-90. Anything to keep people out of Seattle. Redirect Eastside business to the Eastside. Having said that, commerce requires travel into Seattle environs. Tolling will simply raise the cost of product which ultimitly is paid by the consumer. When I-90 was first built and Tolled, there was an economic benefit for the user, now, that is not the case.
    This, is just a money grab. DOT never seems to have to face up to their mistakes. I say let the Legislature own this.

  17. KJ on February 19th, 2013 3:59 pm

    The way I look at it, both the 520 and I-90 bridges work “in tandem” to provide traffic flow between Seattle and the Eastside — so I say toll them! It’s a short term fix to provide a long term solution to our nightmarish traffic around here (and yes I commute between Seattle and Issaquah daily via I-90…sometimes via 520). As far as I-90 being a federal/interstate highway, all I have to say is look no further than the Northeastern US: many interstates are tolled over there (New Jersey Turnpike, anyone?) including, ironically, pretty much the entire stretch of I-90 east of the Pennsylvania/New York state line is tolled via the New York State Thruway and Masspike toll roads. So it is legal…I say do it and help keep traffic moving.

  18. Old Ned on March 5th, 2013 12:12 pm

    Robbery.. I lived through the original tolls on the floating bridge back years ago. It did what it was intended to do and ended when it got the job done.

    Now we are back to paying for a bridge by toll and the DOT screwed up. Now they just want to dig the loss out of the pockets of the the people who use I90 and drive the less prosperous commuters around the backed up north end of the lake or the already backed up S curves and through Renton and south Seattle and up I5 another parking lot during drive times.

    They are making our driving lives miserable enough already and will be adding hundreds of additional hours a year on our commutes. DO NOT TOLL I90!

    I now do all my business on the east side..

  19. Democracy Workshop on March 8th, 2013 3:08 am


    We are Democracy Workshop, and have written Washington State Initiative I-1285 to “Prohibit Tolling on Interstate Highways”

    For our campaign to be successful, it will require a solid and organized effort, not to mention it will particularly require sufficient funds to pay for the cost of gathering at least 350,000 signatures statewide in order for it to qualify for the ballot. Conservatively it will take over $750,000 to accomplish this.

    Contributions can be made through our website where you can choose either PayPal, mail-in check, or credit/debit card transaction.

    Please Click Here to Contribute http://www.democracyworkshop.com/index_files/ContributionsPortal.htm

    “Like” us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Democracy-Workshop/152713128216273

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