Letter: Inslee wimpy, meaningless on tolls
By John Ley, Camas
Published: August 11, 2018, 6:00 AM in The Columbian
Gov. Jay Inslee says he wants to ensure our “voices are heard” regarding Oregon’s outrageous tolling scheme on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. (Here). Oregon did hear many voices from Southwest Washington citizens, then promptly ignored them. Inslee’s words are wimpy and meaningless.
I want a real leader, one who will fight Oregon’s pocket-picking scheme. Tolling all lanes of the two interstate freeways is a “war on the poor,” as citizen Steven Wallace told the county council. Oregon is adding no new through lanes to either interstate. New vehicle capacity is the only real solution to relieve the nation’s 12th-worst traffic congestion.
If approved, Oregon would be the only location in the nation to toll all lanes of an interstate freeway without adding new capacity. Existing lanes are already paid for. This is simply a money grab.
Tolling is hugely inefficient for raising transportation dollars. In Seattle, on Interstate 405, 35 percent of tolls go to the cost of collection. On Interstate 66 in Virginia, fully half the tolls go to collection costs. That’s outrageous.
In the past two years, Washington citizens paid over $600 million in Oregon income taxes. We’re paying more than our “fair share.” We need real leadership fighting for Washington citizens’ interests, not wimpy words.