Seattle mayor proposes road tolls for downtown streets - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Cloudy
11.0°C

Seattle mayor proposes road tolls for downtown streets

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaks at a news conference talking about efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the city as she stands at a viewpoint looking toward downtown Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Seattle. Durkan wants to toll some downtown roads to try to ease the city's traffic gridlock. Such "congestion pricing" is used in some European cities but so far no U.S. cit has established such a system. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
April 04, 2018 - 2:15 PM

Seattle is looking at road tolls for downtown streets as part of a broader initiative to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Wednesday.

Durkan provided few specifics on the tolling proposal at a news conference, but she said the city's transportation department is currently studying possible congestion pricing strategies to ease traffic through the downtown core.

"We know it's a heavy lift that we'll have to engage people deeply before doing that," Durkan said. "And we have to make sure that it is paired with meaningful transit because we can't ask people to get out of their single-occupancy vehicles unless there are meaningful options they have, whether that is buses, walking, bikes, or other public transit."

Once the tolling study is done, the city would "develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing," her office said in a new release.

A proposal would likely have to go to the city council and to voters as an initiative.

Similar toll systems are in place in big cities such as London, Stockholm and Singapore, where it can cost more than $15 to drive into the city centre during peak periods.

New York has explored the idea for years, but prospects have dimmed in recent weeks for the latest proposal. A state panel earlier this year had recommended tolls of up to $11 or more on motorists entering the busiest parts of Manhattan as a way to reduce gridlock while raising money for transit upgrades.

Durkan said Seattle needs to get more cars off city streets, make public transit and other alternatives more accessible and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels.

"It's yet another effort by the city of Seattle to penalize working families who depend on vehicles for mobility," said Mariya Frost with the conservative Washington Policy Center.

"I think this will have negative regional impacts, particularly on those folks who can't afford to live near Seattle but do work there," she added.

Road transportation accounts for about two-thirds of Seattle's greenhouse gas emissions. Durkan announced a number of steps that aim to reduce carbon pollution from the transportation and building sectors.

She said Seattle would look at expanding the city's fleet of electric vehicles, as well as requiring that new or renovated parking structures include electric vehicle charging stations. Another plan would provide incentives for buildings that cut energy and water use below certain levels.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Woman found dead in car in Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A woman has been found dead and two men have been taken to hospital after they were found in a car playing loud music early this morning. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shel
  • Kamloops RCMP seek missing man
    KAMLOOPS - Police in Kamloops are asking for the public's help to find a missing man. James Harris, 53, has not been in contact with family or friends since late March and he was last se
  • Searching for a stranger: Dozens of people brought in by bus to look for Ryan Shtuka
    SUN PEAKS - It's been nearly 10 weeks since Ryan Shtuka went missing in the Sun Peaks area after leaving a house party on Burfield Drive, but volunteers are still showing up in droves hoping t
  • Kelowna RCMP investigating brutal downtown assault
    KELOWNA - A Kelowna man who witnessed a brutal assault by a group of young men on a lone male in downtown Kelowna on the weekend says he feels like he came close to seeing a murder in progress.
  • Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services
    Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn that error-riddled obituaries of their loved ones have been posted on a website that's selling flowers, as well as on
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile