Watch this video to see what politicians and WSDOT don’t want you to know about how the I-405 Toll Lanes are violating the law.
I represent the 35,000 people who signed the petition at stop405tolls.org
WSDOT has been operating the toll lanes for more than 2 years, yet they have never been able to make them meet the requirements of the law. The law states that if WSDOT can’t meet the requirements within 2 years, they must be terminated. But rather than end the experiment as required by law, the new secretary of tolling at WSDOT has doubled down choosing instead to challenge the literal interpretation of the law rather than search for alternatives that actually work. The Attorney General Bob Ferguson responded to WSDOT with a
preliminary opinion stating it is OK if the toll lanes don’t move traffic as long as they collect enough revenue and that WSDOT can take all the time they want to remove the tolls. I will show you overwhelming proof of the tolls must go as defined by law.
Let’s examine the facts:
#1: First, based on his logic, the lawmakers who passed this law would be equally satisfied if the traffic in the toll lanes moved at 45mph, but they were LOSING $20 million dollars per year, right? Hell no!
Second, since they are already meeting the financial requirement , why would the Legislature spend nearly $200,000 to have a 3rd party determine if they are also meeting the speed requirement? That would be redundant and a total waste of our money.
For the sake of thoroughness, let’s dig a bit further into the evidence.
Watch this recording of the 2011 Senate Transportation Committee where the legislation was originally created…
“If within 2 years the express toll lane project does not generate enough revenue to cover its expenditures or speeds drop below an average of 45mph 90% of the time during peak periods then the project is terminated.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Meet them both or the project is terminated. But wait, let’s see what the Chair of the House Transportation Committee has to say about this. The next clip was taken just last month, Dec 14th, at the Joint Transportation Committee where the U of Minn presented their findings on the toll lane performance. When the presenter suggests raising the maximum tolls, listen to what Representative Clibborn wants to “put in everybody’s mind”…
“I would just like to put into everybody’s mind the idea along here is we’re not really in..We’re not really tolling for the money. We’re tolling for the management.” –Rep Judy Clibborn, Chair of House Transportation Committee
If the legislation actually didn’t mean speed performance is relevant as WSDOT is claiming, then why on Earth would Rep Clibborn, keep stating so emphatically that the WHOLE purpose of the toll lanes is for managing traffic, NOT FOR REVENUE? Without this requirement WSDOT just becomes a tax collecting agency, not a transportation agency. Any other conclusion would be absurd…
Unless… the ulterior motive is to take this freeway that people have built their lives around and leverage it for a profit off of them?
If we look back at that 2011 Senate meeting again let’s listen to what Senator Dan Swecker, a Republican from district 20 proposes:
“The ‘all lanes tolling’ option in addition to the options that we are going to look at in the bill and have looked at in the past.. I think that this option, even though it is politically less palatable, actually will generate billions of additional [dollars in] revenue on that corridor, literally billions.” Rep Dan Swecker
Yes, Billions of dollars, the equivalent of the entire WSDOT budget for the whole state, taken mostly from people commuting to work from Snohomish county. But wait, there’s more. Let’s listen to how Rep Clibborn presents it to her peers during the vote on the bill that same session:
“This is a way to take a project that is already on our slate, take some extra money and add extra HOT lanes to become an express tollway which could raise enough revenue to fund the rest of the corridor from Lynnwood to Puyallup at some point. It’s a beginning, it gives us the information we need for us to move forward and it’s in an area that has experienced so much growth that it is one of the most congested corridors in the state.”
(The reason it is so congested is most of I-405 has never been improved since it was built in the 1960’s.)
The first 4 items I presented are irrefutable evidence that the toll lanes must meet all requirements of the law. I also showed that when the public is not physically present and visible, the real motivations of the people behind the tolls are revealed. It’s all about the money. Even to the point of asking for support from the attorney general when the tolls fail to improve traffic.
What’s crazy about this is that for all the chaos, anger, and frustration, increased diversion traffic and increased collisions that tolling has caused, they generate less than 1% of the WSDOT budget. And in the end, they still don’t meet the speed requirement set forth by state law OR the Federal law. Which, by the way, WSDOT is trying to get that changed too.
Replacing carpools with solo drivers paying tolls has nothing to do with solving congestion. In fact, it has decimated carpooling adding thousands more cars to
I-405. Legislators, if you really want to solve congestion, there are ways of doing this, but getting rid of carpools and charging money is not one of them. In another video I will share with you the solutions that the top experts have come up with.
But first start by disposing of the toll lanes before they’re bonded,
Bonding the tolls will prohibit any solutions that actually reduce congestion. Because without congestion the bonds can’t be paid.