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Two significant transportation issues for Kirkland | Letter
There are two significant transportation issues that Kirkland voters need to keep track of: The first is tolling on the I-405 express lanes and the second is $60 car tabs.
• I-405 express lane tolling
Currently in Olympia, the Washington State Transportation Commission is pondering whether or not to drop "2+" free tolling in the I-405 express lanes. The impact of this decision will determine whether motorcycles are exempt or have to pay tolls. The impact of this decision will determine whether urban vehicles like the Smart Car, the Mini Cooper, the Scion IQ and the Fiat 500 will be exempt at full passenger capacity of two people or forever penalized.
The Washington State Department of Transportation will mumble about their "3+ free tolling congestion plan" but as Sen. Steve O'Ban of Seattle pointed out a couple of weeks ago in the Seattle Times, "WSDOT has no formal congestion plan." The "3+" express-lane tolling fees is all about more dollars to sustain the department. The 520 bridge project is in disarray and Bertha is entombed on the Seattle waterfront. The department is trying to find money to cover all their costly mistakes.
I urge you to contact Dan O'Neal, chairman of the Washington State Transportation Commission, and ask that the I-405 express lane tolling be kept at the current "2+" free toll.
• King County Council $60 car tabs
The council has pitted drivers, or vehicle owners, against bus riders. The assumption by the King County Council is that poor folks ride the bus while the rich folk drive. In reality many of the vehicle owners are as poor or worse off than the bus riders. Many low income people have vehicles because their job requires that they have a car. Many low income people need a car because bus schedules and routes do not match their work hours and locations. The working poor who own vehicles at great financial sacrifice have purchased cars, make car payments, pay insurance premiums, do automobile maintenance, purchase fuel, pay state and federal highway taxes, and often pay state highway tolls. These individuals should not be expected to pay another $60 in car tabs to support Metro bus services.
Metro needs to manage itself better and raise bus fares to support their operations.
I urge you to vote no on the $60 license tab issue.
On a side note: Personally, I think we owe Sen. Andy Hill and Sen. Rodney Tom a "thank you" for doing their legislative job in Olympia by blocking a 12 cent gas tax hike.
Dave Condon, Kirkland