LAKE STEVENS, Wash. – Could tolls be coming to the U.S. Highway 2 Trestle? Maybe, but that decision will be up to lawmakers.
The Washington State Department of Transportation was tasked by lawmakers to figure out how to replace the westbound lanes of the trestle, and at least part of the financing could be in the form of a toll, according to a draft study.
Q13 News reported information about possible tolling last month when a state lawmaker shared a graphic on social media describing potential toll schedules from the incomplete draft study.
One local mother who learned about the potential for tolling has a message for lawmakers – and so do thousands of other drivers who share her concern.
Jennifer Boies-Fraser says running errands means battling traffic on the Trestle into Everett.
“It can back up on Sunnyside, backs up on 20th, backs up on SR 204 and on U.S. 2 all through this little bottleneck,” she said.
Ask nearly anyone in Snohomish County and they’ll tell you the trestle is one of our region’s most notorious bottlenecks.
“It gets pretty backed up right there,” said commuter Nichole Boudreau.
“It’s bad all the time,” added Nova Gregory.
Boies-Fraser did the math and discovered she would be on the hook for an expensive ride.
“It would be hundreds of dollars a month that we don’t have,” she said.
So, she took her frustration online and created a petition asking lawmakers to toss out the idea of tolling all together.
“Our lawmakers can do better,” she said, “This burden should not rest on our shoulders.”
In a matter of days, thousands more signed her petition with some claiming a toll could end up holding an entire community hostage.
“I was just trying to give voices to all the people who were against this idea,” she said.
WSDOT says tolling could be only one of several funding options to replace the westbound lanes.
The agency is expected to deliver the study to lawmakers in early 2018, but Boies-Fraser will also share her petition with lawmakers, hoping the politicians in Olympia will rethink their idea of tolling in Snohomish County.
“They knew they were allowing houses to be built out here, they let the community explode,” she said, “Did they not see this coming?”
It’s also hard to find many in the area willing to fork over more money just to sit in more traffic.
“I petitioned to say no,” said Boudreau. “I don’t think it should be tolled.”
“I don’t like it. I’m not OK with that,” said Gregory.
“The people have spoken and I think very clearly,” said Boies-Fraser.
The petition can be found here.