Friday, April 4, 2008

$10 Bridge Tolls?

I live in Seattle.
There is a lake here that separates Seattle from what we call "the East side" (that's where Bill Gates lives).
Many people live on the East side because the cost of living is lower than living in Seattle. However, they have to face a commute across one of the two available bridges to get over to Seattle if they work here...or if they live here and work there (where Microsoft is located).

Both of these bridges are in need of remodeling in the next several, SR520 (the 520 bridge), is in need of remodeling due to traffic jams that occur daily. Actually, twice daily...and at intervals multiple times throughout every day. These jams happen on both bridges and every local radio station has a constant banter about which bridge you should take during rush hour each morning and each afternoon.

The committee planning the remodels want to either place a tunnel at one end, place an additional bridge at one end or just add lanes.

The projected cost is phenomenal ($3.9 to $4.8 BILLION dollars). How do they plan on paying for it? With bridge tolls...on both bridges across the lake.

How to get around the tolls? Two options: drive around the lake or take a bus.

Now, I am all for mass transit and I think if we actually put up a bridge toll with no plans to do any remodel at all...we could use those funds for improving the roadways that already exist instead of adding to them. Fix the 47 million pot holes in the 15 mile range from my house.

It is said that 115,000 vehicles cross the 520 bridge every day.

Imagine what it would do for the environment if even 25% of those vehicles stopped running and those would-be drivers took buses that already cross the bridge daily.

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