If you thought that Jay Inslee and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) learned a lesson after commuters’ negative reaction to the I-405 tolling debacle, you would be wrong. This week, the state transportation commission voted to change the rules of the 405 scheme, so tolls will no longer apply on nights (after 7 pm) and weekends, and on holidays.
The changes left many commuters breathing a sigh of relief — though, of course, the changes do not go far enough to really reduce rush hour congestion.
But, the fight over tolling lanes isn’t over. GOP state Rep. Mark Harmsworth recently warned the public to be wary of future plans to add more pay-as-you-go lanes.
Harmsworth wrote on his Facebook page, “If you watch closely, there is talk of expanding the system and adding a second hot (High Occupancy Transit) lane north of 522 … Will it be at the expense of the general purpose lanes again?”
Despite public backlash, it appears as though liberals have not given up on their plans to toll all major highways in our state. As Shift reported, in a 2008 presentation by the Puget Sound Regional Council, officials pushed a plan to toll every highway by the year 2040 in order to raise billions in revenue to improve infrastructure.
The plan has been stymied so far due to federal law. However, by every indication, liberals are pushing boundaries. And, of course, Democrat lawmakers are “trying to loosen laws to allow for more tolling.”
Democrats faced a minor setback due to public backlash over the I-405 tolling scheme. But, that doesn’t mean they will stop pushing their very specific, highly partisan agenda.
In the end, Democrats don’t care how much achieving their agenda would cost working families in Washington, just as long as they see it come to fruition. This extreme agenda has infiltrated WSDOT, resulting in many of the serious transportation failures we have seen for decades.