The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In our view / Investing in safety


Maybe U.S. 2 can be fixed

  • Two Washington State Patrol troopers take measurments at the scene of a three-car fatal accident last week on U.S. 2.

    Michael O'Leary / The Herald

    Two Washington State Patrol troopers take measurments at the scene of a three-car fatal accident last week on U.S. 2.

Maybe it's not fair to judge U.S. 2 by a five-day window, to tally the number of those injured or killed from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11 in three accidents, and to shake a fist at the fact that this keeps happening.
Maybe the accidents, in part caused by driver error, were only a momentary spike on the so-called Highway of Death, grim aberrations on otherwise pleasant mornings. Ultimately, six people were sent to the hospital and another two were killed.
Maybe this winter's rain and snow and diminishing daylight won't cause more accidents, hospitalizations and fatalities. Or maybe they will.
Whatever happens, everyone in Snohomish County knows that change is needed on U.S. 2. Roughly 60 people have died there since 1999. The state even has a plan, written with input from those who live along the corridor, to improve the road.
But that plan seems maddeningly out of reach.
It was released in 2007, before the bottom fell out of the economy, with a price tag of about $1 billion. It has no legitimate timeline, given the hurdles required to raise that kind of money. A reasonable best-case scenario? Decades.
So what can we do? Complain about it? Tell each other to drive safely? Haven't we done that?
Change -- at least this kind of change -- costs money. There's no way around it. The question, then, should be: Are we, as a community, as private citizens, willing to pay for change on U.S. 2?
Maybe we're not, in which case, fine. Drive safely.
But maybe we are.
Let's talk numbers. West of Monroe, an average of 22,500 vehicles drive on U.S. 2 every day, according to the state Department of Transportation. That comes to about 8.2 million drivers a year.
Maybe we could use those numbers to our advantage.
Maybe a $1 toll -- $3 for trucks -- could be put in, raising millions, with every penny dedicated to improvements on U.S. 2. Maybe the toll stop itself could be named for the highway's victims -- a memorial.
The toll wouldn't be an out for lawmakers. They must craft a reasonable transportation bill that directs our tax dollars to state highways, U.S. 2 included.
But a toll would guarantee a steady source of funding for local projects, ensuring that U.S. 2 isn't just competing for state dollars with Seattle, Spokane and the Tri-Cities.
Admittedly, no one likes tolls -- the $5 one on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is an easy target for many. But, at the end of the day, they are common. Highways around Chicago use them. Same with New York City. People keep driving. Tolls are a part of life there.
Maybe one could save lives here.
Story tags » U.S. 2

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

Herald Editorial Board

Peter Jackson, Opinion Editor: pjackson@heraldnet.com (@PeterJHerald)

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Jon Bauer, News Editor/Content Development: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

A garden of ideas
A garden of ideas: Find a wealth of inspiration on Snohomish tour
'Everything fit perfectly'
'Everything fit perfectly': Lake Stevens QB explains why he committed to Georgia
A parking battleground
A parking battleground: Crowds flock to Lighthouse Park for beaches, farmers market
Summer on a plate
Summer on a plate: Many ways to enjoy melon, season's happiest fruit