House leaders shut down vote on I-405 relief; cite ‘scope and object’ as reason vote can’t be taken

Feb 26, 2016

State lawmakers worked late into the evening tonight, but not to talk about relief for drivers on the Eastside. In addition to expressing his support for $45 million in projects to better move people on I-405, State Representative Mark Harmsworth (R-Mill Creek) sponsored two amendments to the supplemental transportation budget that would change the way the freeway works.


One amendment would have given back a toll lane in each direction on I-405. The lanes were fully funded with gas tax increases in 2003 and 2005. A study from the Puget Sound Regional Council shows that operating one toll lane instead of two would increase general purpose speeds and lower toll prices for travelers.


The other amendment would have given back the toll lanes on I-405 and removed tolls entirely, as laid out in the 30,000-plus citizen petition. Those amendments were “scoped” out of consideration by House leaders – meaning lawmakers didn’t get to vote on the amendments.


Another amendment by State Representative David Taylor (R-Moxee) was also “scoped.” His bill would have capped tolls at four dollars.


Obviously the tolls on I-405 are controversial; but lawmakers had a healthy opportunity to hold a floor debate to talk about an issue that's vital to their constituents.