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Bridge Tolls

Joshua McNichols
07/29/2008

How and when should we toll the Lake Washington bridges? The tolls would pay for a new 520 bridge, but drivers may also be charged to take I–90. The first of 5 public hearings on bridge tolling options is tonight at the UW Bothell. KUOW's Joshua McNichols has more.

TRANSCRIPT

OFFICIALS SAY THE 520 BRIDGE IS APPROACHING THE END OF ITS LIFESPAN. THEY WARN A BRIDGE FAILURE WOULD HIT THE STATE ECONOMY HARD. THE 4 BILLION DOLLAR REPLACEMENT WOULD HAVE 6 LANES AND BE COMPLETED IN 2016.

RICK OLSON IS A SPOKESPERSON FOR A GROUP OF STATE TRANSPORTATION AGENCIES. HE SAYS OFFICIALS WANT TO HEAR FROM AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.

OLSON: "Tolls on the 520 will change the choices people make all around Lake Washington. The bridge serves a wide area and there are a whole lot of people involved."

THE GOVERNOR AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION LEADERS SAY TOLLS ARE NECESSARY. BUT THE AMOUNT OF THOSE TOLLS, AND WHEN THEY WOULD BE CHARGED IS STILL UNDECIDED.

A RECENT REPORT FROM THE PUGET SOUND REGIONAL COUNCIL SAYS ROUND TRIPS MADE DURING RUSH HOUR COULD COST ALMOST 7 DOLLARS. DURING OFF–PEAK TIMES, THE CHARGE COULD BE MUCH LOWER.

SOME SHOPPERS AT UNIVERSITY VILLAGE HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE TOLLS. DAVE AND MARGARET MAXUM LIVE IN SEATTLE. THEY OWN A CONSTRUCTION COMPANY ON THE EAST SIDE. THEY CROSS THE BRIDGE SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. BUT THE TOLLS WOULDN'T BOTHER THEM.

MARGARET MAXUM: "Tolls are just a part of life. Same in New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Everybody has tolls but us."

DAVE MAXUM: "I remember when 520 was tolled when it was built. So, whatever. Get real people, suck it up and pay for it, there's a cost to driving your car."

OTHERS SUPPORT THE TOLLS, BUT PLAN TO CUT TRIPS ACROSS THE LAKE TO SAVE MONEY. KYLE POFFENROTH LIVES ON SEATTLE'S CAPITOL HILL. HE GOES TO SCHOOL IN SEATTLE, BUT HIS PARENTS LIVE IN ISAAQUAH. HE WON'T VISIT THEM AS OFTEN IF HE HAS TO PAY A TOLL.

POFFENROFF: "Yeah, I'd probably go less, I think, or not go at all."

AND HOW WOULD HIS PARENTS FEEL ABOUT THAT?

KUOW: "How would your parents feel?"

POFFENROFF: "They would have to come see me. I don't know. They have more money than me, so... What? They do! It's a good excuse, I'm sorry, I can't come visit you, the toll's too much."

THE TOLLING COMMITTEE WILL PRESENT ITS FINDINGS TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE IN JANUARY. TONIGHT'S MEETING WILL BE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON BOTHELL. IT'LL BE FOLLOWED NEXT MONTH BY MEETINGS IN RENTON, SEATTLE, BELLEVUE AND KIRKLAND.

FOR KUOW I'M JOSHUA MCNICHOLS.

© Copyright 2008, KUOW

09.21.14

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