State accepts comments on Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 29, 2013

The state Department of Transportation is evaluating potential impacts of tolling Interstate 90, and the public can comment on the proposal.

The agency is considering a proposal to toll the highway on the seven-mile stretch between Interstate 5 in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

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Public can comment on Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 28, 2013

NEW — 2 p.m. Jan. 28, 2013

The state Department of Transportation is evaluating potential impacts of tolling Interstate 90, and the public can comment on the proposal.

The agency is considering a proposal to toll the highway on the seven-mile stretch between Interstate 5 in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

The state is at work on a $4.1 billion project to replace the 49-year-old floating state Route 520 bridge across Lake Washington and overhaul the 12.8-mile corridor between I-5 in Seattle and state Route 202 in Redmond.

The floating bridge is scheduled to open in traffic by early 2015.

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State hosts meetings on Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 15, 2013

The state Department of Transportation is evaluating potential impacts of tolling Interstate 90, and the public can learn more about the proposal at a series of meetings on the Eastside and in Seattle.

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City Council questions Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 1, 2013

The prospect of tolling on Interstate 90 received a cool reception from the City Council, as state officials consider the idea as a way to generate dollars for the state Route 520 bridge replacement project.

The state Department of Transportation is at work on a $4.1 billion project to replace the 49-year-old floating bridge across Lake Washington and overhaul the 12.8-mile corridor between Interstate 5 in Seattle and state Route 202 in Redmond. The floating bridge is scheduled to open in traffic by early 2015.

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State Route 520 bridge tolls alter Interstate 90 commutes

January 10, 2012

State transportation planners said local traffic patterns shifted as motorists adjusted to tolls on the state Route 520 bridge.

Though motorists on the bridge across Lake Washington between Seattle and Medina experience shorter commutes, drivers elsewhere noticed changes in traffic congestion and longer travel times.

The morning commute on Interstate 90, for instance, started sooner, almost 30 minutes earlier than normal.

Data from the Jan. 4 morning commute indicates state Route 520 bridge experienced 30 percent less eastbound traffic and 35 percent less westbound traffic during the 7-9 a.m. peak morning commute compared to normal. On the other bridge across Lake Washington, however, the peak commute started 30 minutes earlier than historical averages and commuters experienced travel times near the high end of the normal range.

Planners said as motorists use I-90 as the alternative to state Route 520, traffic volumes increased slightly and travel times increased up to five minutes more than normal. The state recorded the typical westbound travel time from 6-8 a.m. at 11-20 minutes.

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Alaskan Way Viaduct closure could impact Eastside traffic

October 19, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 19, 2011

The impending Alaskan Way Viaduct shutdown could cause traffic congestion to ripple far from the Seattle waterfront, transportation officials said days before the aging structure closes.

The state Department of Transportation plans to close the viaduct from 7:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Oct. 31 as crews demolish viaduct sections, build a bypass at the southern end and construct a southbound off ramp.

The planned closure is the longest ever for a Seattle-area highway. The viaduct serves almost 110,000 motorists each day — and roads throughout the region could clog as commuters seek alternate routes.

Major congestion is all but certain on Interstate 5 during the shutdown. The gridlock could spill over onto Interstate 405 and along Interstate 90 toward Issaquah during peak commutes.

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Guest Column

October 18, 2011

I-1125 ensures accountability, transparency in Olympia

Olympia still doesn’t get it. Four times the voters have approved initiatives requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes and a majority vote to increase fees. Four times. Yet despite 1053’s 64 percent yes vote last year, Olympia repeatedly violated it. Initiative 1125 closes loopholes that were put in 1053. I-1125 requires, again, that fee increases be decided by elected representatives of the people, not unelected bureaucrats at state agencies.

I-1125 ensures accountability and transparency.

I-1125 requires transportation taxes only be used for transportation. Our state imposes one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, collecting billions every year. Before the government double-taxes us with burdensome tolls — forcing us to pay twice — I-1125 stops transportation revenue from being diverted to nontransportation purposes.

In the entire history of our state, tolls have always expired after a project is paid for. Whether it was the original Interstate 90 bridge, the 520 bridge or the Hood Canal Bridge, there was no such thing as never-ending tolls — for nearly 100 years, once a project was paid for, the toll was taken off.

But in 2008, Olympia repealed that protection, creating for the first time tolls that will continue forever — once a toll is imposed, it will never go away.

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Expect delays as Interstate 90 bridges close for Seafair

August 1, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 1, 2011

Interstate 90 travelers should plan ahead for Blue Angels-related closures during Seafair.

The state Department of Transportation plans to close the bridge from 9:45 a.m. to noon and 1:15-2:30 p.m. Thursday, and 12:45-2:40 p.m. Friday for practice.

Then, the Department of Transportation plans to close the bridge from 12:45-2:40 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for complete shows.

The agency plans to close the express lanes at 9 a.m. Thursday and 10:45 a.m. Friday to Sunday, and reopen the lanes by 3:30 p.m. each day.

In addition, the bridge closes to pedestrians and cyclists up to 30 minutes before the scheduled shutdowns.

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Press Editorial

March 8, 2011

Legislators need your input more than ever

State representatives will be more approachable than ever this Saturday, March 12. Constituents from both the 5th and 41st legislative districts might want to save the date for a face-to-face opportunity to share views about reduced services and possible fees now before the Legislature.

Your representatives are prepared to hear from you about increased classroom sizes in public schools, benefit changes for state employees, reduced road maintenance, tolling of the two Lake Washington bridges, user fees/permits for state parks, increases in college tuition, a proposed new tax district to pay for ferries, closure of mental health facilities, loss of state sponsored health insurance for children and myriad other issues heavy on your mind.

Hearing from the voters is what will help drive the tough decisions legislators are contemplating now to address a $4.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 state budget.

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Press Editorial

January 11, 2011

State budget proposal is just a starting point

Gov. Chris Gregoire has presented a long list of possible cuts for Washington to balance a $37 billion two-year budget. Legislators convened this week to begin sorting the ideas and adding their own.

All of the governor’s ideas have merit, some more than others.

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