Tolling one of many transportation issues for senate candidates

By Evan Smith

Tolling and car-pool lanes are two big transportation issues among the three candidates for the state senate position in the 1st Legislative District.

Democratic State Rep. Luis Moscoso, fellow Democrat Guy Palumbo and Republican Mindie Wirth recently sent statements about what they think local legislators should do about transportation issues in the district.

Moscoso, Palumbo and Wirth are running for the position that Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe is giving up after six four-year terms.

The three are running on the Aug. 2 primary ballot, with the two leading candidates in the primary advancing to the November general-election ballot regardless of party.

The 1st Legislative District includes most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.

Here are their statements in the order their names will appear on primary ballots and in the voters’ pamphlet:

Legislative District 1 State Senator

Mindie Wirth (Prefers Republican Party) —

Commuters deserve real solutions to transportation challenges and accountability from government agencies – not flawed tolling programs. The I-405 Master Plan, approved by 27 government agencies, called for up to two additional lanes in each direction, plus bus rapid transit and 5,000 park-and-ride stalls. We have no new capacity through Bothell, tolls in the existing HOV lane and a 3-plus-person car pool requirement during peak hours.

The results are a bottleneck in the Bothell core and unpredictable travel times throughout the day, which is hurting families and businesses. We should not be paying tolls for roads already built with gas tax dollars and tolling revenue should be used to build new capacity – not expanded toll lanes.

Let’s call a time out on tolling, restore the 2-plus carpool, implement BRT (bus rapid transit) with desperately needed park and ride stalls, and add new lane capacity to serve all modes on I-405.

Guy Palumbo (Prefers Democratic Party) —

There are many transportation needs in our district due to the rapid population growth over the past 10 years, and the failure of our current representatives to fix the problems. Last year, the legislature passed the largest gas tax increase in state history, $16 billion. However, they didn’t address the critical needs in our district.

We need more effective leadership in Olympia.

Top priorities for transportation projects include: fixing the bottleneck on Rt. 9 in Clearview, and on Rt. 522 between Paradise Lake Road and the Snohomish River, the Paradise Lake/Maltby Road/Rt. 522 interchange, adding a general-purpose lane on 405 north of Bothell and dealing with the mess on our arterial roads caused by the 405 toll lanes.

We also need more transit options. Top transit priorities are to get a robust system of park-and-rides, coupled with Bus Rapid Transit down the 405 corridor, as well as on Rt. 522.

Luis Moscoso (Prefers Democratic Party) —

I was one of the original drivers hired by Community Transit in 1976. After 20 years behind the wheel I was promoted to work with the CT Executive Team as Organizational Consultant (5 years). I understand the transportation problems of our community from the ground up. In Olympia, I have served as Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee. I supported passage of the 2015 Transportation Revenue Package and helped amend it to add $152 Million for transportation infrastructure in Snohomish County. I helped bring critical improvements to my district, including funding for improving I-405, I-405/NE 132nd Interchange, Paradise Lake Interchange, and the Bothell Crossing Project that served as a catalyst for redevelopment of downtown Bothell.

I am upset that the I-405 Toll lanes have actually made congestion worse in my district. I can no longer support the I-405 Toll lanes previously approved by Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature.

Evan Smith can be reached at

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