This Washington

Poll: Drivers Oppose Tolls On I-5 Express Lanes

By Erica C. Barnett July 18, 2011

Anti-tolling initiative sponsor Tim Eyman just sent us the latest SurveyUSA/KING 5 poll on tolling, which finds that a strong majority---nearly two-thirds---of those polled say tolling the express lanes on I-5, as the state is now contemplating, is a bad idea.

Of 500 adults polled in King and Snohomish Counties, 63 percent said "placing tolls on the I-5 express lanes through North Seattle to help raise money for maintenance" is a bad idea. Thirty-two percent said it was a good idea, and the rest didn't know. Of that sample, though, just 12 percent reported driving on the express lanes regularly, and another 37 percent said they used the lanes occasionally.

As has been the case with past, similar, polls, a huge majority of people said they'd use the free alternative route (in this case, the non-express lanes) instead of paying a toll for a faster trip. However, the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) doesn't buy the hype, at least not where similar tolls on SR-520 are concerned. As people realize how much faster the tolled route is, by WSDOT's logic, they'll decide it makes more sense to pay the toll and get where they're going more quickly. Time is valuable.

And one more caveat on SurveyUSA's data: One thing they failed to mention in their questions is that for carpoolers (those with three or more people), the express lanes will still be free. Only SOV drivers, and those with just one passenger, will have to pay. That omission could have skewed the results.
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