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Referendum Recap: Yes on Tunnel, No on Toll Restrictions

AGC of Washington’s leadership has made the following recommendations regarding upcoming ballot initiatives:

On the Aug. 16 ballot—

Seattle Referendum 1 (Seattle only) regarding the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel replacement project.

Vote “yes” because 10 years is long enough the alternative is surface and political gridlock and broken promises and delay will not get us anywhere. Click here for a previous article from AGC Works that explains the initiative in greater detail. For more information contact AGC Seattle District Manager Jerry Dinndorf 206-284-0061.

On the Nov. 8 ballot—

Initiative 1125 (statewide) a proposal to limit the use of toll and gas tax revenues in Washington State.

Vote “no” because I-1125 will severely limit the use of toll revenues. It will require that toll revenues only be used on the project for which they are collected and that they be collected only until the construction costs of the facility have been paid off. This would prohibit tolling to pay for ongoing maintenance of the facility placing a greater burden on gas tax revenues for these uses.

The measure also punches a big hole in financing for large projects as it would require that any tolls collected be a flat-rate precluding variable tolling during peak travel times. This will severely limit financing options for projects such as the Columbia River Crossing Bridge.

The initiative also creates some difficult “Catch-22” situations such as banning use of either Lake Washington floating bridge usage for light rail in the future in spite of the long-standing policy agreement that the I-90 bridge would carry light rail at some point.

The proposal would also require that all tolls be established by the State Legislature rather than the current law which delegates that responsibility to the Transportation Commission. This requirement would be ponderous at best and subject the tolling process to unworkable political influences so as to make it difficult to achieve agreement on anything.

For more information contact AGC Government Affairs Director Rick Slunaker 360-352-5000.

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