Look out I-90 commuters, your free ride could soon come to an end.
On Monday the Washington State Department of Transportation told Seattle City Councilmembers that full tolling of I-90 could help pay for the 520 project.
Every passing car between I-5 and possibly as far east as North Bend could ring up enough money to help make up for 520's $1.4 billion shortfall.
But tolling one road to pay for the other is something Mike Cero says is fundamentally unfair: "There’s not that efficient check and balance of the person paying for it is the person getting the service."
Cero lives on Mercer Island working FOR Mercer Island, as a city councilman. The answer, he says, is not imposing a new toll but a higher gas tax. After all, a toll wouldn’t just affect those living on Mercer Island.
It would affect tens of thousands of people like Kevin Myrhe who don’t. “I mean, I don’t make a ton so that’s a big chunk. It’ll cost me more to get to work.”
“It’ll cost me to get to work and then it’ll cost the company and especially with landscaping it’s a pretty tight budget,” Myhre says.
Councilman Cero says a toll would increase the cost of doing business in Seattle.
"The friction of transport-- eventually that stuff builds up, it matters. And people may decide ‘well I’m not going to go up to Seattle.’”
WSDOT says it’s looking into tolls that could vary according to miles travelled and would likely use the Good-to-Go system. Pricing is still under consideration.
Three public meetings will be held this week so people can share their comments. All of them will go from 4pm-7pm. The first one happens Tuesday at the Mercer Island Community Center. Wednesday’s meeting is at Bellevue City Hall. And then Thursday, officials will be at the Yesler Community Center in Seattle.