SB 5104 Relating to prohibiting local governments from imposing vehicle tolls would prohibit any local government from imposing a toll. The intention of the bill is to prohibit the City of Seattle from imposing a downtown congestion toll currently under consideration. Currently Washington State road tolls must be set by the Washington State Transportation Commission. Local tolls are not address by statue. Local city congestion tolls have been used in other cities in the country and serve a completely different purpose.
Arguments in favor of the bill are that tolls restrict driving downtown to those with incomes to allow them to pay the toll and that tolls should only be used when the funds are needed to pay for the infrastructure on which the toll is applied. Arguments against this bill, with which the League concurs, are that the State should not prohibit a local jurisdiction from managing its traffic as it sees fit, and that congestion tolls will provide incentives for increased transit use.
None of the bill sponsors are from Seattle or King County, and their areas would not be affected by what Seattle is proposing.
This bill is very likely to go to the floor for a Senate vote in the next few days. Please contact your Senator and ask him/her to vote no on this bill.
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