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WSDOT Surveying Drivers on I-90 Tolls

The agency has sent a list of 28 questions to about 10,000 households to gauge how driver behavior might change with the introduction of tolls on I-90.

The possibility of I-90 tolling is hitting home for many Eastside residents this week. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) mailed a 28-question survey to some 10,000 bridge drivers last Friday, said WSDOT spokeswoman Emily Pace. The mailing addresses came from a license plate survey WSDOT conducted last October.

How would a toll on the I-90 bridges affect your driving habits? Tell us in the comments section.

Pace said the survey asks drivers how often they use the I-90 floating bridges and how a $3.50 peak toll rate would affect their travel decisions. Respondents are also asked what mode of travel they use to cross the bridge, whether they would set up electronic Good to Go accounts, and if they would consider taking transit to avoid paying a toll.

WSDOT has asked participants to return the surveys by Feb. 1, Pace said.

Patch reported last month that WSDOT is currently studying the possibility of adding tolls to I-90, about a year after electronic tolling began on the State Route 520 Bridge. The tolls could begin as soon as 2015, WSDOT said.

A series of public meetings on the topic will be held on the last few days of January. Click here to see the schedule and locations. 

J Kiter January 18, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Mercer Island residents are trapped with tolls, they have to consider this...one single set of people can't be so unfairly taxed. I live in Monroe, never use the bridge..but it is the bridges that make everything work for our local economy and area. I would gladly pay taxes (without the expensive tolling system waste), to support our bridges,that I barely use. It seems business and industry..no matter if they ever cross that bridge, depend on it financially. So kids from Mercer Island that go to ice skating lessons 4 days a week in Bellevue, or have to go to hospital treatments, want to go to movies, our teenagers who have to go to their first $9.00 an hour job...pay the most in reduced life style. Tolls are life changing and it's wrong to subject an island population to it....taxes spread the cost. These big companies that own tolling rights, win....people don't.
Hashtag_David January 18, 2013 at 06:36 PM
As it is, parking in Seattle costs $200/mo or more. Adding tolls would cost another $200/mo which makes working in Seattle unaffordable for all but the most wealthy eastsiders. Personally, I find it despicable that, after paying RTA tax for nearly two decades, the state is now considering a measure, before any RTA solution is in place,that would put hardship on so many people, particularly with the DOT record of wasting money.
Venice Buhain January 18, 2013 at 06:42 PM
A few comments from our Facebook page: - Noooooooo!!!!! FFS. - Yes I did... Loved the question "what sex are you" male - female or other (please explain) Let me explain... I can't afford your toll... If you force it on me I will avoid Seattle like the plague... The only reason you even "captured" my license plate is because I have been volunteering in Seattle. "fees" are taxes... I am tapped out...
Susan Milke January 18, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Just got my registration renewal for my 2009 Prius. Paid $136.75 in 2012, went up to $150.75 for 2013. That is a 10% increase. Wish my salary went up 10% every year! So extra money from tolls, gas taxes, registration, parking meters, school zone violations, etc. I don't remember voting on any of this. As I always ask, where is this money going?!
L.J. Scharbow January 18, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Some of us retired people only go to Seattle for Doctor or Hospital appointments. It seems unfair that us on a fixed income has to pay to go to Seattle for much needed reasons. I think it is about time that the retired people get some type of break not to have to pay what all the working and higher paid people pay. Because the bridges are used primarily by the working class people that they be taxed only for going across the bridges and that the government sees that it is time to give the retired abnd lower income folks a break.
Paul Acheson January 18, 2013 at 11:04 PM
This is a good way to make Seattle look like Detroit. Eastside folks will not go down town; Northend people will go to Alderwood Mall and Southend people will go to Southcenter. Not a very smart idea
WendyB January 19, 2013 at 02:25 AM
I believe where you live is your choice.
David January 21, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Their first mistake was starting with a $3.50 toll.  Should have made it $0.25 when they started and while they worked out the bugs. Nearly everyone would have continued to use 520 and the toll burden would have been spread out over more people.  Then raise the tax just enough to cover costs without deterring so many people from using it.  Because they started day one at full toll, many people made dramatic, permanent changes in their habits to totally avoid the toll, like moving or taking I-90 or 522.  For instance, I quit using that bridge altogether. I go downtown much less often and I only use 522.  Their mistake cost a 30% reduction in usage.  If they toll I-90 at $3.50, the people will change again and they will lose more people.  The net result will be fewer people taking on the toll burden.  What next, toll 522?  Then I will quit going to Seattle altogether.  They just don't seem to get it: the goal is not to drive people away or strong-arm those who can't find an alternative into paying the ransom. The goal is to improve mobility.  The method they chose is to replace the bridge, but what good is it if no one can afford to use it?  If done properly, people would be flocking to the new bridge.  As it is, this is going to be a financial flop.
Susan Milke January 21, 2013 at 09:52 PM
David I agree. If the toll was even $1 each way most people could afford that. If they toll I-90, then I will take 522 or even the 405 to the 5 north or south or never go to Seattle. I think they made most of their money from the toll fines too (how convenient). On another point, the company did need to work out kinks, as I have Coug license plate on 3 of my cars and they did not bill me until just recently. I have to believe that my kids used the bridge when they said they did, as I have no way to check it since it was last year!

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