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Survey suggests drivers prefer road tolls to taxes

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By Bill Sheets
Herald Columnist
With tolling having begun Thursday on the Highway 520 floating bridge, a recent poll on the subject becomes that much more relevant for drivers here.
According to a national Reason-Rupe poll, 58 percent of Americans said they would prefer to pay for road improvements with tolls rather than taxes.
A full 77 percent said they oppose raising the gas tax and 59 percent said they would use a new toll lane or toll road if it saved them "a significant amount of time."
The poll addresses many other issues, transportation and otherwise. The Reason Foundation is based in Los Angeles and the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation sets up shop in Santa Barbara, Calif. Both are libertarian-leaning organizations.
Tolls on the 48-year-old Highway 520 floating bridge are expected to raise $1 billion to help fund the $4.6 billion cost of a planned new bridge targeted for opening in 2014.
For more information on the poll, go to
For more information on Highway 520 tolling, go to
Incident signs
Janice Moorhead of Mukilteo writes: I live in Old Town Mukilteo and travel to north Seattle to work each day. I take either Highway 99 or I-5.
If I wait until I get to the digital sign that tells me about any incidents and how many minutes it will take from Everett to Seattle, I have already passed the turn-off to Highway 99 and I am stuck going onto I-5.
Could we please have a sign on Mukilteo Speedway telling us that information before we get to the Highway 99 exit? I can't be the only one who needs and would appreciate this. Somewhere around the intersections with Beverly Park Road or Lincoln Way would be great.

Bronlea Mishler, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, responds: In recent years, we've installed several electronic signs on I-5 in Snohomish and King counties that display travel time and commute information. The signs have been very effective in giving drivers real-time information so they can better plan their commutes.
Our goal is to expand the use of these electronic signs in Snohomish County, including on Highway 525 near Mukilteo. We've submitted a proposal to install more signs, but with budgets being tight, it may take until the next budget biennium -- 2013 to 2015 -- before we get funding for installation.
In the meantime, we have many tools that can help drivers plan their commutes.
We have online travel maps ( that show where drivers can expect congestion, a local traffic Twitter feed (@wsdot_traffic) that tweets about traffic conditions and incidents around the clock, and an email update service ( that sends drivers real-time information about blocking incidents on the highways.

Email us at Please include your city of residence.
Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog at
Story tags » I-5Highway 99Highway 525Commuting

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