A Washington State Transportation Commission survey released
Tuesday shows residents would raise taxes and fees to maintain a
good transportation system. Considering the mood of the
recession-weary, anti-government populace these days, that’s hard
Fifty-nine percent said they’d generally support raising some
transportation and fees, but only three of nine potential funding
sources got a majority. Sixty-one percent would support a vehicle
emissions fee, 60 percent a special license fee for electric cars
and 52 percent tolls.
The money should first got to maintaining and repairing the
existing transportation system, they said, followed by increasing
capacity and expanding travel options.
Fifty-nine percent support tolling as a way to pay for major
projects, 62 percent support express HOV lanes that single-occupant
vehicles can use for a price, 51 percent think toll money should be
available for improvements in a traffic corridor instead of just
for the project, 63 percent support more state funding for public
transit and passenger rail, and 57 percent support using state
funds to operate and maintain the state ferry system.
The Transportation Commission invited 100,000 Washington
residents to participate in the online survey, with a goal of 5,000
actually taking it. There were 5,518 total responses.
There’s now a survey online for the broader public. It can be
taken until the end of the year at
The governor’s Connecting Washington Task Force can use the
survey insight into what tax and fees the public will tolerate in
making recommendations for a 10-year transportation investment
Well, it’s true, but nothing to get excited about unless you
need to get from Wilbur to Keller. Problem is, Lake Roosevelt cuts
between the Eastern Washington communities, and residents, school
kids, freight haulers and emergency reponders rely on the
63-year-old Martha S. to make the 1.25-mile connection.
On Thursday, the state awarded the contract for a new 20-car
ferry to Foss Maritime Co. of Seattle. It’ll build the all-aluminum
boat in pieces at it’s Rainier, Ore. plant and ship them to the
site for assembly.
Foss’ bid was $9,557,178, about $250,000 less than the state’s
estimate. It’s supposed to deliver the ferry in May 2013.
Despite travel-related costs jumping from a year ago, more
people are expected to hit the road for Thanksgiving, according to
AAA forecasts. The recession has kept them pent up for so long,
they can’t take it anymore. They haven’t seen Grandma in a couple
years so they’re taking a trip, cost be damned.
People haven’t been traveling the last couple years. In 2007,
there were 50.6 million Thanksgiving weekend travelers. That
dropped to 37.8 in 2008, 37.7 in 2009 and came back a little to
40.9 million last year. Last year’s trend is expected to continue
with 42.5 million travelers next weekend, despite the average cost
of unleaded rising 63 cents from a year ago, to $3.74 a gallon.
Thanksgiving will buck the trend so far this year, with travel
flat for Memorial Day and down for Independence Day and Labor
Air fares are about 20 percent higher than last year, but AAA
expects 1.8 percent more fliers. Hotels are up 6 percent. About the
only thing to get a deal on is weekend car rental, at $37 a
Travelers will be staying closer to home this year, averaging
706 miles instead of last year’s 816. I’ll be driving 23 miles to
work and 23 miles back home, probably somewhere to cover an event
and to the sheriff’s office to read reports. You folks be good so
I’m not having to write up a bunch of police items, and have a
A stretch of Interstate 5 north of Seattle is the seventh-most
jammed-up highway in the country, according to information released
by the Weather Channel, Texas Transportation Institute and INRX on
Tuesday. It’s a section going south from 145th Street to Union
Street in downtown Seattle.
At 145th, commuters from the east side going around the north
end of Lake Washington merge onto I-5 with those from the northern
suburbs. Then they all combine with commuters coming across the
lake on the 520 floating bridge. It’ll be interesting to see what
happens when they start collecting tolls on the bridge in a couple
California dominated the official top 10 list, so researches
chose to look at the list regionally and highlight some of the
worst traffic trouble spots for each area. It’s hard to find an
open stretch of highway anywhere from San Diego to San Francisco,
but the worst stretch in America is the Harbor Freeway/California
110 Northbound route, they say.