Mercer Island's legal team has sent a letter to the federal government citing several reason that the government should block tolling on Interstate 90, a federal highway.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has been looking into tolling Interstate 90 to help pay for the State Route 520 Bridge Project.
The the 520 replacement project is estimated at $4.128 billion and the state still needs to close a $1.4 billion gap in funding, WSDOT officials have said. Officials have also said that congestion has increased and traffic has slowed on Interstate 5, Interstate 90 and State Route 522 as drivers avoid tolls on SR 520.
A toll on I-90 would raise money for 520 and possibly cut down on drivers who clog I-90 to avoid tolls on 520.
The letter by law firm K&L Gates, tells Federal Highway Administration administrator Victor Mendez, that the city believes that allowing WSDOT to toll I-90 possibly would set a precedent that would allow other states to toll any road to pay for another road, instead of maintaining the expectation that tolled roads to pay for the projects on that road.
K&L Gates also said that significant impacts to residents should be considered as part of the environmental impact of tolling I-90 and that the proposal should require a full Environmental Impact Statement.
The full letter is posted to the city of Mercer Island's website: Federal Highway Administration Letter
Reaching out to the federal government is part of the city's strategy for fighting the possibilty of I-90 tolls. The city council developed a plan earlier this month, and included lobbying on the state and federal level and the possibility of lawsuits. The city council agreed to set aside $150,000 from its contingency fund to fight the tolls.
- Mercer Island Council Prepares for Possible Lawsuits in I-90 Toll Response Plan, Mar 5, 2013
- Feb 28, 2013
- City Letter Urges I-90 Tolling Alternatives for Mercer Island-bound Motorists, Feb 25, 2013
- No Toll on I-90 Starts Change.org Petition, Feb 19, 2013
- Report: Washington Lawmakers Set to Propose 10-Cent Gas-Tax Hike, Feb 19, 2013
- , Feb 18, 2013
- , Feb 15, 2013
- Letter: Mercer Island Council Should Criticize Clibborn for I-90 Tolling Role, Feb 12, 2013
- Letter: I-90 Bridge Toll Would Hurt Eastside Jewish Life, Feb 11, 2013