(Reminder of WSDOT open house this Thursday in Bothell) Governor Inslee held a press conference last Thursday to brag about how they are able to start the hard shoulder running project 6 months earlier than expected. The reality is that they are 3 years behind.
Hard Shoulder Running (well documented by the Federal Highway Administration) is where the shoulder of the highway is used as a lane during peak hours, effectively adding a lane. It will have signs over the lane to indicate when it is open to traffic. Governor Inslee is promoting this as a victory, stating it is “because they have had higher than expected revenue from the tolls.” I’m calling Bullshit.
First, the money was already approved in the last legislative session. They were just waiting for the funds to be released.
Second, WSDOT could have already done this 3 years ago and for just $11 Million made a legitimate improvement to the highway instead of wasting the time and money on installing equipment for toll lanes at $111 million. It would have actually improved traffic and **saved $100 million of our money** that was wasted in tolling equipment and does nothing to reduce congestion. Amazing how they took our gas tax money and bought a bunch of junk toll equipment, then over charged us by double to add the capacity that they should have added to begin with.
Third, this project is actually costing the citizens over $20 million in tolls collected to generate the $11 million that WSDOT needs to make the improvement. The other $10 million went to operating the tolls (paying Texans mostly). Had those funds been collected via the gas tax, it would have cost just $50,000 to collect the money. That’s right, $50,000 instead of $10,000,000. Words cannot express my anger at this absurd wastefulness by our lawmakers and WSDOT.
Fourth, WSDOT didn’t even come up with the idea of using hard shoulder running. Sad that the public had to tell them to do this. Pathetic actually. If it weren’t for outspoken citizens with the insight to investigate innovative solutions and who went to their Senator and demanded a meeting with WSDOT, this solution wouldn’t have ever been considered.
Finally, Gov. Inslee stated how people clearly like the toll lanes because 600,000 people have used them. Gov. Inslee, with all due respect, I am one of those 600,000 people and I assure you, I do NOT approve of them.
WSDOT proudly blogged about it. Be sure to go there and leave a comment.
Reminder: WSDOT is holding an open house this Thursday, August 18 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Bothell City Hall. Be sure to attend and voice your displeasure including these facts as well as these key facts posted we called out in the original announcement: https://stop405tolls.org/2016/08/08/wsdot-open-house-aug-18-5-7pm-at-bothell-city-hall/
Also, be sure to sign the petition, contact your legislators (who are listening very carefully right now as they run for election, see links at the top of this website) and spread the word to everyone you know.