Initiative 1125 is masquerading as a tolling bill. In reality, it would devastate funding for our major roads projects such as SR 520, the viaduct, the Columbia River Crossing and SR 167. The Office of Financial Management estimates that the state would lose over $60m in federal matching monies if this initiative passes.
Twenty-five percent of the funding for 520 comes from tolls. Because the Initiative provides that the politicians in Olympia will set the tolls rather than an independent commission of traffic experts, our State Treasurer’s independent analysis shows that the cost of interest on the bonds might increase by $18m per $100m of principal if they could be sold at all. How many investors do you know would buy bonds whose payback is dependent on decisions by politicians?
Further, after the initial bonds are paid, the tolls would come off and we would be back competing for gas tax funds with other projects around the state. Gas tax funds are currently stretched to the limit and many rural roads will turn into gravel roads due to the lack of funds. Removal of the tolls will only accelerate the deterioration.
Secondly, there is a little clause slipped into the end of the initiative that would bar Sound Transit from putting light rail on the I-90. Voters and the communities around I-90 support light rail but one Bellevue wealthy developer is opposed to this project. He is the primary funder of this initiative.
There is an incredibly broad coalition supporting No On 1125. Businesses, chambers of commerce across the state, newspapers, environmental, non-profit and neighborhood groups have come together to say No to 1125, including one of Bellevue’s key business groups.
A “No” vote on 1125 is the preferred vote.