Update regarding the stop405tolls.org petition

[As you read this, action #3 below is what is needed most to turn the bill into a Law.]

Great News! As a direct result of you signing the petition and getting so many signatures in such a short time, legislators from both parties (Democrats and Republicans) were willing to work together to sponsor two bills in the House and in the Senate that do at least part of what we requested in the petition with a third bill coming. The first bill removes the double-white lines and opens the lanes to all traffic from 7pm to 5am. The public hearing is this Thursday.  The companion bill reduces the tolling to 1 lane. (not quite what we asked for, but an improvement). That will come up later.  A third bill is being drafted that does all the actions we requested in the petition, eliminating the tolling altogether. (That is more complex than the simple changes of the first two bills.)  So what happens next?

In short, we ask you to do one or more of the following actions this week:

1.  Get 3 other people to sign the petition.  That would get us to 100,000 signatures.
2.  Visit Olympia for the Transportation Commission meeting on Wed Jan 13th at 10:00am
3.  Visit Olympia for the hearing (public comment) on Senate bill SB6152 on Th Jan 14th at 3:30pm
4.  Visit Olympia for the hearing in the House when that is scheduled. (Most important meeting)

The Details:

1.  Get more people to sign
Please get at least 3 more people to sign the petition.  As you ask them, remind them that even if they never plan to drive I-405, they will still be impacted because WSDOT is already working on tolling:
– the rest of I-405
– I-90 from Issaquah to Seattle
– I-5 through the whole Puget Sound corridor
– SR 509
– SR167 (requiring carpools to get a FlexPass to use the carpool lane for free).
See our website for more justification why these tolls need to be removed.

The petition got over 26,000 signatures in just the first 2 weeks.  The website hosting the petition said this is one of the most successful petitions they have had for a state-wide issue.  It is over 27,500 now.  That’s an amazing start and a testimony to the negative impact these tolls are having, but we know many more people would sign the petition if they knew about it.

We need overwhelming support of the petition to show just how driven the public is to see this issue addressed.  We hope to get over 30,000 signatures by the time of the Senate public hearing this Thursday.  Then keep asking people. And we hope to double it by the time the Legislature actually votes.  With that kind of support, politicians know that failure to act will put their re-election at risk.

(Some people have expressed they don’t want to sign the online version of the petition.  So we have posted a .PDF file that you can download, print out, sign and mail in.  The petition can also be passed around to get multiple signatures.  You will find the document at https://stop405tolls.org/download-and-print-petition/  )

2. Give your opinion at the WSTC meeting.
The Washington State Transportation Commission meeting to be held Tuesday & Wednesday Jan12 & 13.  By the agenda, they will be discussing the status of the I-405 toll and possibly to raise the maximum limit [WSDOT informed us this they will not be raising the maximum at this time.]  on Jan13 at 11:00am and taking public comment at 11:30am. It is recommended you arrive early to sign up for public comment.   This is at:
Transportation Building
Nisqually Conference Room 1D2
310 Maple Park Ave SE, Olympia WA
Their website with details is at http://www.wstc.wa.gov/AboutUs/RolesRespon2009.htm
(you can watch it live on TV too. Check their website for details)

3. Give your opinion at the Senate hearing for public comment on your bill.
The Senate will be taking public comment on bill SB6152. This bill removes the double white lines and opens the toll lanes to all traffic for free from 7pm to 5am. (The other two bills will be scheduled next.)
We need a mass of people to show up for the Senate hearing of SB6152.  This is at 3:30PM on Thursday, Jan 14th.  Arrive well in advance to sign up to speak or just be present and hold up a stop405tolls.org bumper sticker which we should have available.  This is YOUR bill. Come and tell them why it matters to you. (or hold up a bumper sticker)
All the details are published here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/mobile/meetingschedules/Agenda?CommitteeId=438&Date=01%2F14%2F2016%2015%3A30

4. Give your opinion when the House has the public hearing on your bill.
Repeat the process for the House hearing for public comment as well.  The bill must pass both the Senate and the House, so they both need to hear from you.  The date/time of this is not set yet. We will let you know as soon as the House schedules it.  This one is even more important because, while we expect the Senate to support it, the House transportation committee chair, Judy Clibborn, is trying to block it in the House.  A few hundred people from our 27,500 signers would be a good showing.  This is YOUR bill. Come and tell them why it matters to you. (or hold up a bumper sticker)

More info:
We have been posting ongoing blog articles at http://stop405tolls.org providing facts and research that prove the assumptions and methods of WSDOT are grossly wrong.  Some of these include:
Truth about federal highway funds and How HOT lanes carry fewer people than HOV lanes
How expensive and inefficient tolls are at collecting revenue
WSDOT Admits Traffic is Worse
An Analysis of 2-Person vs. 3+Person carpools in Trip Reduction

You can get emails of the articles and news as they are posted by visiting the website at http://stop405tolls.org and clicking on the Follow by Email button.  This is the best way to keep up with what is happening.  Several of us on the team also try to give news updates via twitter and Facebook. Follow @stop405tolls and @stop405tollsnow  and the keyword #405ETL.  On Facebook join the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/stop405tolls/

We want to be respectful and not flood you with email.  Expect to see another email when the House hearing is scheduled.  We appreciate your participation in the petition and being a part of the political process. Your signature makes the difference.

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