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More public input needed on I-90 tolling proposal

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Date:  Monday, October 07, 2013

Contact: Emily Pace, WSDOT communications, 206-716-1116

Feedback to help shape alternatives and tolling options across Mercer Island

SEATTLE – People who depend on Interstate 90 as a vital route between Seattle and the Eastside can learn more and provide comments about the range of alternatives for the proposal to toll the highway.

The Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are conducting outreach efforts – including public meetings in Bellevue, Mercer Island and Seattle – between Oct. 7 and Nov. 6 as part of the I-90 Tolling Project environmental impact statement. The EIS will consider alternatives in several categories, including tolling, state or regional taxes, mileage fees, federal funding and new highway capacity.

“We received thousands of comments during the initial outreach effort earlier this year, which helped shape a robust list of alternatives,” said Craig Stone, WSDOT assistant secretary, Toll Division. “One of the alternatives we’re studying, variable tolling on I-90, includes options for free or reduced tolls on and off Mercer Island.”

Purpose of the study
The Legislature directed WSDOT to study tolling I-90 between I-5 in Seattle and I-405 in Bellevue as a way to relieve congestion across Lake Washington and help fund the remaining portion of the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program. About $1.4 billion is needed to complete the I-5 to Medina: Bridge Replacement and HOV Project.

WSDOT and FHWA will present a range of alternatives based on feedback from initial outreach efforts, prior studies and new legislative direction requiring an EIS for the project. Public feedback will help inform analysis to determine which alternatives could meet the purpose of the study to fund SR 520 and relieve congestion across Lake Washington.

Multiple ways to provide feedback
During this 30-day period, WSDOT staff will host three outreach meetings for the public to learn more about the proposal and ask questions. WSDOT and FHWA officials will be on hand to listen to comments from the public, and a court reporter will record public input.

Dates and locations for public outreach meetings
The public can sign up to speak beginning at 10 a.m. three business days prior to each meeting. Online signup will close at 10 a.m. the day of the meeting. Attendees may also sign up on a first-come, first-served basis at the start of each meeting:

The public may also submit comments by email or by mail to: Angela Angove, 999 Third Ave., Suite 2200, Seattle, WA 98104. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Nov. 6, 2013, when the comment period officially ends. All comments submitted in January and February 2013 will be included and help inform the EIS.

FHWA and WSDOT will conduct another 30-day comment period when the draft EIS is published in spring 2014. The final EIS is scheduled to be complete in early 2015.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) information
Accommodation requests for people with disabilities can be made by contacting the WSDOT Diversity/ADA Affairs team at wsdotada@wsdot.wa.gov or by calling toll-free, 855-362-4ADA (4232). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may make a request by calling the Washington State Relay at 711.


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