Time To Go “All In” On Tolls

Just putting tolls on the Evergreen Point Bridge is not going to cut it. Instead, the region needs to apply tolls all along the 520 corridor and broadly across our highway system. Here's an encouraging progress report. The four-lane Evergreen Point Floating Bridge across Lake Washington on State Route 520 is a relic of a bygone era, congested and disaster prone. How urgent is the need for a planned six-lane replacement? The Washington State Department of Transportation has gone so far as to graphically model on YouTube how the bridge might buckle under duress, threatening lives and paralyzing the region's highway network. And is the region stepping up to the challenge? Less than half the funding is secured. The Seattle-side configuration is still being debated. More broadly, the project begs a more comprehensive regional tolling strategy because our bridges and highways are all connected. We can't keep doing transportation mega-projects on a disjointed, one-off basis. A key to any solution is tolling, and soon. Here and nationwide, 40 years of sizzling growth in vehicle miles traveled has left too many sections of highways, arterial roads, and bridges overburdened, in disrepair, and obsolete in the face of seismic and other hazards. Those ballyhooed federal stimulus funds were a mere drop in the bucket, amounting to less than one-quarter of what a landmark Congressional commission report says is needed annually. The per-gallon gas tax is badly failing at the federal and state levels. The federal gas tax trust fund is bankrupt, and living on bailouts. Even tripling state gas tax contributions to pending mega-projects in Washington state would do little to close wide funding gaps, state data show. A big new federal transportation bill — which may well include the first hike in the U.S. gas tax since 1993 — will help some, but not that much. (More) Read More ›

HOT Lanes Expansion Urged

The report featured Cascadia Center Director Bruce Agnew, and aired repeatedly in the late afternoon through evening drive, and the next day (Saturday). Longer version: .wav file (minus intro & outro) Short version: .wav file (minus intro & outro)

Cascadia’s Rails And Trail Campaign Catching Attention

This article, published by the Woodinville Weekly, mentions the Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute: But in recent weeks, the transportation policy think tank known as “Cascadia Center,” (http://www.cascadiaproject.org) has stepped up its “save the rails” campaign. The rest of the article can be found here.

Is It Rail Time Or Trail Time?

This article, published by the Woodinville Weekly, quotes Discovery Institute Fellow Bruce Agnew: Bruce Agnew, director of the Cascadia Center, said, “When the public is presented with facts about the 100-foot-wide rail corridor they say, ‘Well, of course it should be rails and trails. Why would public employees rush to rip up rails?’”

Perhaps the Next Big Idea Is… Auto-Mobility

In a recent tour of the transportation policy horizon, Seattle Times’ editorialist James Vesely offered an intriguing observation. “Environment-first groups have the big idea on their side… But the other side has no competitive big idea. They talk capacity while the greens talk about how we live.” Transit theologians have hammered at the notion that auto use is morally wrong. Read More ›