The Interstate 405 tolling scheme between Lynnwood and Bellevue has proved to be a frustrating mess for commuters, many of whom are desperate enough to pay as much as $20 round trip just to escape the traffic. That’s why GOP state Rep. Mark Harmsworth and GOP state Senator Andy Hill introduced legislation that would eliminate one of I-405’s under-utilized toll lanes, and let the drivers (who already paid for the lane through gas taxes) use it as a general-purpose lane. Additionally, their bill would make other changes intended to reduce congestion on the busy roadway.
More specifically, the proposal would scale back WSDOT’s I-405 express lane tolling project. Currently, there are two toll lanes in each direction. The bill would leave in place one new tolling lane in each direction on I-405, but convert it to an HOV lane outside of rush hour and, like the old HOV lanes, would open it to all traffic starting at 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning.
The bill has garnered bi-partisan support in both legislative bodies, with a handful of Democrats jumping on board. Unfortunately, there is one key Democrat lawmaker who appears intent on destroying the legislation.
Democrat State Representative Judy Clibborn, chair of the Transportation Committee, has refused to give the bill a hearing. According to MyNorthwest.com, she doesn’t like the bill and argues, “A major overhaul is premature at this point.”
In other words, as KIRO’s Jason Rantz put it, Clibborn is abusing her power to “stifle an important debate on a bill that would otherwise pass.” Rantz,
“Because she’s unwilling to come on my show to explain directly to the audience why she’s abusing her power, let’s go to her. Please consider giving her a call or sending her an email to respectfully request she change her mind and stop stifling debate. Her office phone number is 360-786-7926 and her office email is [email protected]. Let her know it’s wrong to use personal opinions to get in the way of the will of the people and we’re not going to put up with it anymore – whether it’s being done by a Democrat or a Republican.”
Stay tuned to see whether or not Clibborn decides to respect the public, and her fellow lawmakers.
Todd Naz says
405 is a mess and this made it worse. So it’s all about $ and not about people being able to get to work and back? The people’s $ already paid for the roads through the gas tax. Fat, old politicians like this lady is everything wrong about how this state is run. This is a liberal state but fiscally responsible. Why do you think the state income tax was never passed? We the people are smart enough to know that you can’t put the jack back in the box. This is actually illegal how this tolling system is run on 405 and it will be in court soon.
On 520, the State was only receiving 10% of the tolls after operating costs. Did you mean to say fiscally “irresponsible?”
I like how we were told for years, “We can’t build our way out of congestion” but when when it comes time for a scam to fleece the citizenry out of even more money, Poof! an extra lane appears out of nowhere. All Clibborn is interested in is $$$$$. She talks “care” about her constituents only enough to get re-elected and the fools around me keep sending her back.
David Clark says
The “we can’t build our way out of congestion”: is just one of a long string of lies promoted by the Sierra Club. It should be obvious to anyone that we need to increase road capacity as population increases, same as we increase water, electric and sewer capacities.
These same people think that people should get out of cars and use transit to save energy. Just one problem – TRANSIT USES MORE ENERGY than cars.
Clay Fitzgerald says
It’s not hard to figure out Clibborn’s respect for the public and their opinions, she has NO respect until it comes to election time and she starts begging for votes and promising anything to get reelected.
Under-utilized toll lane? The lanes are doing what they’re supposed to do, which is keep traffic in those lanes at 45mph. You can choose to use them or not, but it is your choice. Instead of always being stuck in traffic, YOU can choose if you want to move ahead faster than others. It’s just like flying, you can choose where to sit and how comfortable you want to be. It sounds like Clibborn is the only one who is using her brain instead of emotion, the only one using facts instead of fantasy. She is the only one actually respecting the public, the ENTIRE public.
Please use some logics to your respond. If the Flex lanes are setup to help commuters
as the primary goal, then traffics relief is the end result without the extra
headaches or expenses of the people. How
is taking away the HOV lane (2+passenger) and turning it into a (3+passenger) supposed
to help with traffics? How is forcing commuters to pay $15 dollar for a pass
and $30 to open an account helping with traffics?
If the WSDOT really aimed at helping with traffic and at the
same time, generating some extra revenues they should have kept the status
quo. That is keeping the HOV as (2+
passenger) and opens up the extra lane (toll lane) to allow for any commuters
who wants to cut down their commutes.
Don’t force the people to your agenda, people like Judy are
voted into office to serve the people and not the other way around. Otherwise, they are no better than the
communist on the other side of the world.
Yeah, they’re not exactly keeping traffic moving at 45mph. I’ve sat in them moving at 10 mph, same rate as the adjacent traffic, and paying 7 bucks for the privilege. Infuriating. And they’re making traffic worse in the regular lanes, even on days and times when they used to flow freely.
10 bucks for a one-way trip is ridiculous, I don’t care who you are or how comfortable you want to be.
They aren’t meant to keep speeds at 45mph 24 hours a day. There are always collisions that occur, even in the toll lanes, that block traffic. Even the engineers at WSDOT can’t overcome the dumb mistakes that drivers make. The goal is 45mph at least 85% of the time, which is what they are achieving. Just look at the facts. And, they haven’t taken away any of the regular lanes, no matter what people want to believe.
It’s not that they took away lanes. It’s that people can’t just use them as HOV lanes because they don’t have the flexpass, so they’d have to pay the photo toll, which is higher than even the regular toll. And 2-passenger cars now need to be 3-passenger cars for HOV during the week.
As for accidents, have you looked at what goes on? The lanes are CAUSING accidents. The month after the lanes started accidents on 405 were double the same period the previous year.
The lane markings are being altered to better fit the driving patterns. Again, there’s no one preventing people from using the toll lanes, it is THEIR CHOICE. The Good-To-Go passes are easy to get and easy to use. It is past time for people to take responsibility for their own decisions on driving. The politicians set the rules and if you don’t like the rules, feel free to vote for other politicians. But, don’t blame other people for your own decisions.
Uh, yeah, the article was about the politicians trying to change the rules, and one in particular blocking that change. Did you even read it? The politicians represent the people, they’re not our overlords. Get a clue.
How many working people do you think can afford to spend 20 bucks a day to go to work and back? They used to carpool for free in the HOV lane with 2 people, now they need three. They can’t afford to live in Bellevue, now they can’t afford to commute either, so they have sit in traffic longer than ever while people with means (sometimes) fly by them and wave, “So long, suckers!” And the state makes money.
What a freaking scam.
Yah. And they didn’t take away any of the exit only lanes did they?
Cinesea – you troll, not everyone has hundreds of extra $s to pay toll taxes and I am not a “dumb driver.” My car was totaled by someone cutting everyone off as she came off 520. She admitted she was just trying to get to the carpool lane. The in-and-out of toll and changing flashing toll signs are just another distraction causing even more accidents on 405. 2nd highest gas-tax in the country already! Are you over-paid by DOT or what? You are not the ENTIRE public and neither is Clibborn. So happy for you two that you can pay for first class travel. Now go sit on 405 during rush-hour.
We passed a 15 cent per gallon gas tax over a decade ago, to be used to improve the roads. Where jas that money gone? We used to have HOV lanes on 405 that were easy to used and encouraged ridesharing. Now we have HOV lanes that only the well-off can afford, and 89 cents out of every toll dollar goes to a private company as their profit. Thses lanes violate federal law, but a Democrat administration will not hold fellow Democrats accountable. So, now in a liberal state, we’ve set up a two tier transportation system where those who are well off have reduced commutes, while those who aren’t get to sit and wait, and waste their time and money. Welcome to the Progressive utopia, where everyone is equal, but those with means are more equal than others. If you object, you are told to know your place and shut up, because environment.
I wrote Clibborn and hope everyone will take a moment to do so as well. Cinesea – you troll, not everyone has hundreds of extra $s to pay toll taxes and I am not a “dumb driver.” My car was totaled by someone cutting everyone off as she came off 520. She admitted she was just trying to get to the carpool lane. The in-and-out of toll and changing flashing toll signs are just another distraction causing even more accidents on 405. This tax is just another excuse to over-spend, rather than prioritize. Why the sudden need to toll? Besides, it discriminates against everyone living north of Bellevue, which are mostly working families. The state increased gas taxes by 7 cents last summer and it is set to increase again by 5 cents, putting us at the 2nd highest gas tax in the country. I don’t think that is a #1 spot Washingtonians want. See: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/gas-tax-increases-by-7-cents-in-washington-state/
john robel says
Typical socialist asshole democrats. They never see a tax raise scam they didn’t like.