EDITORIAL: Initiative 1125: No

October 21, 2011 

One would think, at a certain point, Tim Eyman just might see the long-term problems in some of the initiatives he manages to get on the ballot.

Now, Eyman is taking aim at the use of tolls to fund road improvement projects. Instead of having tolls decided by a nonpartisan panel, Initiative 1125 would require the Legislature to set the rates, turning funding for much-needed projects into political issues.

Tolls on roads and bridges are standard user fees. You only pay if you drive on the road where the toll booth is located. Over here in Eastern Washington, we don't have to worry about a toll on the proposed new six-lane Highway 520 floating bridge between Seattle and Bellevue.

However, we should worry about gas taxes being diverted from this side of the Cascades to west-side projects if Eyman gets his way.

I-1125 would jeopardize the new bridge and other projects by virtually eliminating the sale of toll-backed bonds.

It would also prohibit variable pricing, with higher tolls during rush hour to ease congestion.

There are lots of other oddball restrictions thrown into the initiative that would just about kill the use of tolls to fund projects in our state.

Toll roads have their place in helping our state keep its infrastructure intact.

Eyman needs to find some target other than our state's highways, the upkeep of which is vital to our economy.

The Herald editorial board recommends voters reject Initiative 1125.

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