Washington Transportation, Initiative 1125 (2011)
|Referred by:||Tim Eyman, Leo J. Fagan and M.J. Fagan|
The initiative would have prohibited gas tax and toll revenues to be diverted to non-transportation purposes. It would have also required that lawmakers approve toll rates. According to reports, the proposed initiative would have required that tolls end on a road or bridge once the project's construction was paid off. Variable toll rates that depended on the time of day truckers and drivers used the road or bridge would also have been outlawed.
Initiative sponsors included: Tim Eyman, Leo J. Fagan and M.J. Fagan.
- See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
|Washington Initiative 1125|
Text of measure
The ballot title read:
- Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1132 concerns state expenditures on transportation
- Concise Description:This measure would prohibit using motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue for non-transportation purposes, prohibit using gas-tax-funded or toll-revenue-funded highway lanes for non-highway purposes, and require the legislature to set tolls.
- Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]
According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:
This measure would prohibit motor vehicle fund revenue and vehicle toll revenue from being used for non-transportation purposes. It would prohibit non-highway use of state highway lanes funded by gas taxes or vehicle tolls. It would require the legislature to set tolls, and would provide that a toll on a particular road or bridge, including the Interstate 90 floating bridge, could be used only to construct, improve, operate, or maintain that particular road or bridge.
The 2011 proposal developed following action by lawmakers to re-delegate the ability to set toll rates to the state Transportation Commission appointed by the governor. That action, said Tim Eyman, supporter of I-1132, violated a 2010 voter-approved initiative that required a supermajority legislative vote for new or increased fees.
According to reports, lawmakers made the changes in order to toll Interstate 90 over Lake Washington in order to pay for the "520 bridge project" and to use gas tax funds to build light rail lines on two bridges.
Reports indicated that the following were some projects that the state planned to use tolls to help finance the work:
- Highway 520 bridge - tolls expected to cover $820 million of the $4.65 billion project
- Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement - tolls to cover $400 million of the $3.1 billion project
- I-5 Columbia River bridge - tolls to cover $3.1 billion of the $3.5 billion project
- I-5 express lanes
- I-405 carpool lanes
Initiative sponsors included: Tim Eyman, Leo J. Fagan and M.J. Fagan. "A toll has always been a compact between the government and the person paying it — that you’re paying this specific fee to pay for that specific project. That (government) is not just going to steal the money and go spend it on something else," said Eyman.
The initiative campaign was called Voters Want More Choices.
- Tim Eyman and Bruce Nurse, a vice president with Bellevue-based Kemper Development Co., argued that the initiative would ensure that toll money was not drained for other state purposes. Additionally, they argued that the initiative would make rate-setting for tolls directly accountable to voters.
- In response to opponents who argued that legislators should not be setting toll rates, Eyman said that unlike legislators voters cannot hold accountable the unelected transportation commission, who currently set toll rates.
- On August 25, 2011 the Washington State Republican Party announced their support for I-1125. "I-1125 will require state government to stay fiscally prudent and has the added benefit of requiring elected representatives to set the cost of tolls, not unelected bureaucrats," said the party.
- Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman said, "The people are entitled to a great transit system. They're also entitled to a great road system. We're in the process of getting neither." According to news reports, Eyman said he believes the initiative will force lawmakers to consider cheaper ways of executing transportation projects.
- In a press release, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Washington State Director Patrick Connor said, "Small-business owners support transportation projects that increase capacity and expedite the shipment of goods to market. However, small-business owners also expect that their gas tax dollars will be spent wisely and that tolls will be limited only to the specific project for which they were approved—not diverted to other projects or purposes."
According to the State of Washington Public Disclosure Commission there were two political action committees registered in support of I-1125: "Help Us Help Taxpayers 2011" and "Voters Want More Choices - Save the 2/3rds."
|PAC||Amount raised||Amount spent|
|Help Us Help Taxpayers 2011||$58,559.40||$0|
|Voters Want More Choice - Save the 2/3rd||$1,357,871.44||$1,228,746.25|
Top 5 contributors:
|Kemper Holdings LLC||$1,093,000|
|Puget Sound Chapter National Electrical Contractors Assoc.||$10,000|
|Puget Sound Security||$7,499|
(last updated December 2011)
In opposition of the proposed measure a coalition was formed called Keep Washington Rolling.
The coalition argued that the proposed measure threatened current and future projects, including the Route 520 bridge. "The threat doesn't just stop there--it also means that hundreds of smaller projects, including many in rural areas, would be affected as well--creating a backlog of projects we can`t afford and miring our communities in gridlock. These delays will threaten not just our quality of life but the desirability of our state to live, work and do business in," said the group's website.
- Keep Washington Rolling
- Steve Mullin, president of the business organization Washington Roundtable
- Rep. Jim Moeller
- Rep. Larry Seaquist
- Doug MacDonald who served as the state secretary of transportation from 2001-07
- Gov. Chris Gregoire
- Attorney General Rob McKenna
- Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, 2012 gubernatorial candidate
- Washington Realtors
- Association of Washington Business
- Bellevue Chamber of Commerce
- Seattle Port Commission
- Eastside Transportation Partnership
- Redmond City Council
- Spokane City Council
- Steve Mullin, president of the business organization Washington Roundtable said,"I-1125 is a new attack on transportation and transit projects in Washington state. That business, labor, environmentalists and community leaders from around the state are standing together to oppose this effort in a nearly unprecedented coalition speaks volumes about just how much harm I-1125 would do to our economy and quality of life in Washington state."
- Rep. Jim Moeller argued that the proposed changes on spending could prevent flexibility that saves taxpayers money.
|Transportation on the ballot in 2011|
- Rep. Larry Seaquist said that allowing the Transportation Commission to address tolls and fees allows for more public input than if legislators addressed the issue. Additionally, Seaquist added that if fees were set by legislators it could result in deal-making.
- Doug MacDonald who served as the state secretary of transportation from 2001-07 argued that the proposed initiative may create concern among bond rating services and others involved in bond sales if the legislature were to set toll rates. The concern, he said, would be that politics might play too much of a hand in the collections.
- George McGillard, 2011 vice president of government affairs for the Washington Realtors said, "While we understand concerns for the appropriate use of toll revenue, I-1125 inhibits funds for critical transportation projects—the roads and bridges that link homes, neighborhoods and jobs—which cannot be postponed any longer. Restricting the much-needed funding for transportation would not only harm the quality of life in our communities but would also slow our economic recovery."
- Association of Washington Business said, "Initiative 1125 would jeopardize construction and funding for multiple major transportation projects, including the Columbia River crossing in Vancouver and the 520 bridge in Seattle, and that just means more delays and traffic headaches for Washington drivers. AWB members also believe variable tolling is a necessary part of today’s transportation infrastructure projects, and that it would be better to have the Legislature set up a commission to set the tolls and tolling criteria than keeping those decisions with lawmakers in Olympia."
- Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, 2012 gubernatorial candidate, said, "will damage our ability to grow our economy and create jobs."
- The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce was opposed to I-1125 "due to concerns about the potential negative impact on the Washington State transportation system, including on the State Route 520 Bridge."
- The Seattle Port Commission adopted a resolution in opposition of I-1125. The resolution said in part, "The Port Commission expresses its position that toll revenues have been identified as an important component of funding of transportation infrastructure necessary to creating jobs, maintaining healthy ports and ensuring the state’s competitive position in the global economy. The existing authority of the Washington State Transportation Commission ensures a stable and predictable process to provide revenues sufficient for transportation project needs, set tolls to maximize efficiency and reduce congestion; and further provides appropriate security for bondholders, thus keeping costs low."
According to the State of Washington Public Disclosure Commission there were two political action committees registered in opposition of I-1125: "Keep WA Rolling" and "No On I-1125 Committee."
|Total campaign cash|
|PAC||Amount raised||Amount spent|
|Keep WA Rolling||$2,455,950.66||$2,397,981.11|
|No on I-1125 Committee||$0||$0|
Top 5 contributors:
|Pemco Mutual Insurance Co.||$40,000|
|Wright Runstad Associates||$30,000|
|HDR Inc. PAC||$25,000|
|Puget Sound Energy||$25,000|
(last updated December 2011)
Media editorial positions
- Main article: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2011
|Taxes on the ballot in 2011|
- The Olympian was opposed. "This is a typical Eyman initiative that overreaches and attempts to tackle multiple issues with a single initiative. By cluttering I-1125 with multiple requirements, Eyman has torpedoed his own effort. Toll rates should be set as close to the users as possible, not by lawmakers trading political favors in Olympia. That’s why voters should reject Initiative 1125 on Nov. 8."
- The Columbian said, "Initiative 1125 on the Nov. 8 ballot threatens a greater harm to that transportation system than any proposal we’ve seen in years. If passed, it would block transportation projects statewide, increase traffic congestion and eliminate thousands of jobs. Locally, I-1125, if passed, would delay the new Interstate 5 bridge project and increase its cost."
- The Spokesman-Review said, "Initiative 1125 would crimp highway tolling and impede the state’s ability to raise money for bridges, roads and maintenance. It could very well halt projects and cost the state jobs at a time when the economy is staggering. And while this might seem like a West Side story, the negative fallout would also drift our way...Business and labor interests don’t agree on much, but they concur that this would be a terrible deal for the state’s economy. Vote no, or be prepared to face some depressing signs."
- The Yakima-Herald Republicsaid,"Several natural business allies of Eyman and Freeman actively oppose the measure. They include the Washington Roundtable, the Association of Washington Business and Freeman's hometown Bellevue Chamber of Commerce. They see the need to fund investments in critical infrastructure. We do, too. The reduction in gas-tax revenues is well-documented, as is the growing backlog of needed transportation projects. Initiative 1125 would cost the state a key mechanism for moving people and products, a cost that is too high amid our obvious need for transportation improvements."
- The Seattle Times said, "The Seattle Times does not want tolls to become a general-purpose tax any more than the sponsors of I-1125 do. But their measure is unduly restrictive. It would mess up the 520 project. It would mess up the Columbia River bridge project at Vancouver. It would even mess up Sound Transit's plan to run light rail across I-90. That is a mess too large. Please vote no on Initiative 1125."
- The Tri-City Herald said, "Toll roads have their place in helping our state keep its infrastructure intact. Eyman needs to find some target other than our state's highways, the upkeep of which is vital to our economy. The Herald editorial board recommends voters reject Initiative 1125."
- The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin said, "I-1125 would, in the end, make the difficult task of improving the state's infrastructure even harder. We recommend voters reject this proposal."
- Sound Politics said, "On the plus side, Initiative 1125 may stop light rail from crossing the Mercer Island I-90 bridge but it may also make toll backed bonds more expensive. Investors shy away from bonds backed by tolls if a legislature sets the toll rates; too exposed to politics. Legal wrangles can also be expected if 1125 passes."
- The News Tribune said, "This initiative looks good only if you don’t look too hard. Nobody likes paying tolls on roads. But the toll on dumb ideas can be quite a bit stiffer."
- The Herald Everett said, "I-1125 is a short-sighted measure our region can't afford. Vote no."
- The Pacific Northwest Inlander said, "Keeping the option of toll roads available to Western Washington transportation planners is in our best interest."
- The Bellingham Herald said, "Initiative 1125, on this year's ballot, falls into the incarnate category. It sounds wonderful: a law to protect drivers from unreasonable highway tolls. Scratch and sniff, though, and it turns out to be a monkey wrench aimed squarely at the state's efforts to keep cars moving on overcrowded roads."
- The Wenatchee World said, "I-1125 will make it more difficult to set and raise highway tolls. It will restrict who sets tolls, how toll revenues are spent, where they can be collected and for how long. That might bring temporary satisfaction to some, but it will shut down an important means to finance big highway projects."
- See also: Polls, 2011 ballot measures
- An August 2011 poll by pollster Stuart Elway revealed that 49 percent of surveyed voters support the proposed initiative, while 29 percent were opposed and 22 percent remained undecided. According to reports, a total of 407 registered voters were surveyed.
- A September 20-21, 2011 poll by pollster Stuart Elway reported that 56 percent supported the measure, while 25 percent were opposed and 19 percent were undecided. A total of 408 registered voters were surveyed. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points.
- A September 21-22, 2011 poll by SurveyUSA revealed that 52 percent of surveyed voters supported the proposed initiative, while 24 percent opposed it and 25 percent said they were undecided. A total of 529 registered voters were surveyed.
- An October 10-30, 2011 poll by The University of Washington revealed that 41.4 percent were in support of I-1125, while 40.0 percent were opposed and 18.7 percent were undecided. A total of 938 registered voters were surveyed. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|August 2011||Elway Poll||49%||29%||22%||407|
|Sept. 20-21, 2011||Elway Poll||56%||25%||19%||408|
|Sept. 21-22, 2011||SurveyUSA||52%||24%||25%||529|
|Oct. 10-30, 2011||The University of Washington||41.4%||40.0%||18.7%||938|
Reports and analysis
OFM impact report
In early August 2011 the Washington Office of Financial Management released fiscal impact statements for initiatives scheduled to appear on the 2011 ballot, including Initiative 1125.
According to the report, the state office did not anticipate any impact on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and State Route 167 toll lanes. However, the impact on future toll roads and bridges remained uncertain.
The use of tolls on Interstate 90 to help pay for the 520 bridge, however, would have been prohibited. According to the analysis $123 million in federal funds for the 520 project may have been placed in jeopardy because the initiative would remove what is known as "variable pricing" or "congestion pricing." Such pricing methods set different tolls for peak-use hours. Federal dollars are contingent on the use of "congestion pricing." Additional analyses for the changes in pricing methods are estimated to cost up to $8.3 million.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Washington signature requirements
In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 8, 2011.
A similar initiative - 1134 - was also filed but later withdrawn.
An estimated 328,632 signatures were submitted on deadline day. According to the Washington Secretary of State's office 328,632 signatures were submitted, more than enough to qualify the initiative for a fast-track random sampling of 3 percent. In other words, 10,000 random petitions selected by a computer program were scrutinized. The overall error rate of the verified signatures was 14.63 percent. The measure was certified on July 25, 2011.
|Initiative||Required sig.||Submitted sig. (unofficial)||Result (official)|
|Initiative 1125||241,153||328,632||Certified - 14.63% error rate|
The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:
|Initiative filed||January 10, 2011||The initiative was filed with the Washington Secretary of State|
|Petition drive deadline||July 8, 2011||A total of 328,632 petition signatures were submitted|
|Certified||July 25, 2011||The initiative was certified and referred to the ballot|
| By Bailey Ludlam|
Ballot measure writer
|Email • Submit a link|
- Washington State OFM predicts one initiative may produce millions in state revenue
- Five measures to appear in the state of Washington, all three initiatives cleared
- Washington toll initiative green lit for 2011 statewide ballot
- Verification checks begin for Washington's 2011 initiatives
- Washington's petition deadline arrives, three initiatives expected to file
- Proposed initiatives filed in 2011
- Initiatives: (1115), (1125) and (1132)
- Withdrawn: 1134
- Washington State's 2011 General Election Online Voters' Guide
- The Freedom Foundation's 2011 Initiative Guide
- Progressive Voters Guide
- Transportation Nation,"In Key Measure of How Voters Feel on Transpo Spending, Washington Voters To Decide On Tolls," November 4, 2011
- The Kitsap Sun,"Eyman's latest ballot measure takes aim at tolls," October 15, 2011
- The Herald Everett,"Impacts of Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, I-1125, debated," October 9, 2011
- KNDO,"Creator of Initiative 1125 say it's needed," October 4, 2011
- Issaquah Press,"Measure calls for tighter rules on highway tolls," September 20, 2011
- Edmonds Patch.com,"State Liquor Stores Not the Only Voter Initiative on the Ballot This Fall," September 18, 2011
- KAPS 660AM,"All three initiatives checked out well," August 3, 2011
- The Olympian,"5 issues on state’s fall ballot," August 3, 2011
- Washington Secretary of State - From Our Corner blog,"Three initiatives make the ballot," August 2, 2011
- The News Tribune,"Tim Eyman toll restrictions likely to reach ballot," July 8, 2011
- Washington Secretary of State - From Our Corner blog,"Taking the initiative," July 8, 2011
- Associated Press,"Groups push 3 initiatives toward Wash. ballot," July 7, 2011
- The Spokesman-Review,"Time to sign up or shut up as initiative deadline nears," July 2, 2011
- The Herald,"Heavy hitters at work behind state initiatives," June 19, 2011
- The Seattle Times,"Eyman's initiative seeks to restrict tolling in state," May 7, 2011
- The News Tribune,"KISS principle prevailed in Washington's elections," November 10, 2011
- The Seattle Times,""No" votes for November's three ballot contrivances," October 27, 2011
- ↑ Issaquah Press,"Voters toast liquor initiative, shut down tolling measure," November 15, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Eyman’s I-1125 is losing and loses ground," November 9, 2011
- ↑ Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative Measure No. 1115," January 10, 2011
- ↑ Seattle Weekly,"Tim Eyman's Five "New" Initiatives Look Awfully Familiar," January 11, 2011
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Associated Press,"Eyman's new initiative: Make lawmakers set tolls," May 1, 2011
- ↑ Sound Politics,"OUR STATEWIDE INITIATIVE FOR 2011 IS ... ," May 1, 2011
- ↑ Land Line Mag.com,"Washington state ballot initiative would restrict tolls," August 5, 2011
- ↑ Washington Secretary of State - From Our Corner blog,"Gregoire, Reed certify 2011 election returns," December 5, 2011
- ↑ Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1132 brief description," retrieved June 22, 2011
- ↑ The News Tribune,"Tim Eyman initiative calls on Legislature to set tolls and fares," May 2, 2011
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Kitsap Sun,"Eyman comes to Bremerton to launch initiative on tolls," May 12, 2011
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 The Seattle Times,"Eyman challenges state's route on tolls," October 1, 2011
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 The Columbian,"Eyman seeks signatures to restrict tolling in state," May 7, 2011
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Redmond Patch,"I-1125 Supported by Business Groups, Opposed by Transportation Partnership," October 21, 2011
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 The Olympian,"Two sides air views on Eyman’s I-1125," September 7, 2011
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 SnoValley Star,"Initiative 1125 calls for tighter rules on highway tolls," September 21, 2011
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Associated Press,"Eyman initiative targets tolls; state leaders balk," October 17, 2011
- ↑ Washington Public Disclosure Commission,"Initiatives 2011," retrieved October 13, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Times,"Costco, Freeman and SEIU putting money on initiatives," July 13, 2011
- ↑ $1,093 contributed to "Voters Want More Choice - Save the 2/3rd", accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Times,"Freeman gives measure against tolls $500,000," June 10, 2011
- ↑ $80,000 contributed to "Voters Want More Choice - Save the 2/3rd", accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $10,000 contributed to "Voters Want More Choice - Save the 2/3rd", accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $7,499 contributed to "Help Us Help Taxpayers 2011" PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $2,000 contributed to "Help Us Help Taxpayers 2011" PAC and $4,000 contributed to "Voters Want More Choice - Save the 2/3rd", accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ Issaquah Press,"Measure calls for tighter rules on highway tolls," September 20, 2011
- ↑ Vote no 1125,"I-1125: Stalling progress, increasing gridlock," retrieved October 4, 2011
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 The Spokesman Review,"Sides argue local impact of I-1125," October 25, 2011
- ↑ The Columbian,"Initiative to restrict tolls draws opposition," July 21, 2011
- ↑ MyFoxSpokane,"C.R. Douglas on the Initiative 1125 debate," October 11, 2011
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 The Olympian,"Realtors, AWB oppose Eyman's toll measure," September 29, 2011
- ↑ AWB,"AWB 2011 Candidate, Ballot Measure Endorsements," September 23, 2011
- ↑ Bellevue Patch,"Opinion: Bellevue Chamber Says No on 1125, Yes on 1183," October 6, 2011
- ↑ Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate,"Seattle Port Commission adopts resolution opposing Tim Eyman’s I-1125," October 11, 2011
- ↑ Vote No on 1125,"Campaign ads," retrieved October 28, 2011
- ↑ Washington Public Disclosure Commission,"Initiatives 2011," retrieved October 13, 2011
- ↑ $700,000 contributed to Keep WA Rolling PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $40,000 contributed to Keep WA Rolling PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $30,000 contributed to Keep WA Rolling PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $25,000 contributed to Keep WA Rolling PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ $25,000 contributed to Keep WA Rolling PAC, accessed October 13, 2011
- ↑ The Olympian,"Initiative would choke off transportation projects," September 16, 2011
- ↑ The Columbian,"‘No’ on I-1125," October 13, 2011
- ↑ The Spokesman-Review,"Editorial: Tolling initiative a halting proposition," October 14, 2011
- ↑ Yakima-Herald Republic,"Initiatives' verdict: No on 1125 and 1163, yes on 1183," October 16, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Times,"Save road projects: Vote no on I-1125," October 7, 2011
- ↑ Tri-City Herald,"Initiative 1125: No," October 21, 2011
- ↑ Union-Bulletin,"EDITORIAL: Eyman's I-1125 will make funding road projects tougher," October 19, 2011
- ↑ Sound Politics,"Recommendations for November 8, 2011 Elections," October 24, 2011
- ↑ The News Tribune,"I-1125 puts taxpayers on hook for local toll projects," October 10, 2011
- ↑ The Herald Everett,"Formula for more gridlock," October 9, 2011
- ↑ Inlander,"Deja Voting," October 5, 2011
- ↑ The Bellingham Herald,"OUR VIEW: I-1125 could put taxpayers on the hook for local toll projects," October 28, 2011
- ↑ The Wenatchee World,"Initiative 1125, down a bad road," October 1, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Times,"New poll shows voters split on liquor, tolling initiatives," August 23, 2011
- ↑ The Stranger,"Why the Elway Poll Shows the Home Healthcare Initiative With 77 Percent Approval," August 24, 2011
- ↑ The Seattle Times,"Elway poll shows growing support for Eyman's tolling initiative," September 27, 2011
- ↑ Survey USA,"Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #18580," September 23, 2011
- ↑ The University of Washington Poll,"2011 Washington Poll," October 31, 2011
- ↑ 60.0 60.1 Washington Office of Financial Management,"Fiscal Impact Statement for Initiative 1125," retrieved August 16, 2011
- ↑ Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Initiative blows hole in 520 bridge project, says OFM," August 11, 2011
- ↑ Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Liquor privatization, toll initiatives appear headed for ballot," July 8, 2011
- ↑ Washington Secretary of State's blog - From Our Corner,"It’s official: I-1125 will be on ballot," July 25, 2011
- ↑ Lake Stevens Journal,"Eyman’s Initiative 1125 certified to fall ballot," July 28, 2011