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King County opposition dooms tolling proposal

Thu., Nov. 10, 2011, 10:03 a.m.

OLYMPIA — Initiative 1125, a state ballot measure that would have placed restrictions on how tolls can be levied on new road and bridge projects and how the money collected could be spent, has failed.

Trailing ever since the early returns from Western Washington were counted on Election Night, the fate of I-1125 became clear Wednesday evening when that trend continued and a gap of about 40,000 votes opened up.

Voters in King County, where some of the new toll road and bridge projects would be built, rejected the measure by about 60 percent.

Perennial initiative sponsor Tim Eyman had described the measure as a check on state bureaucrats, and a safeguard to consumers by ensuring that tolls were spent only on the project where they are collected and removed when that project is paid off. But opponents countered would make major toll projects more difficult to finance and didn’t recognize the realities of modern transportation projects.

The measure is also failing in Spokane, Adams, Garfield, Jefferson, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom and Whitman counties. Ballots will continue to be counted around the state for the next two weeks, but a reversal large enough to allow I-1125 to pass is unlikely.

The other two initiatives on Tuesday’s ballot, I-1163 which requires more training and criminal background checks for home health care workers and I-1183 which ends the state monopoly on liquor sales, had such strong support that they were clear victors on Election Night.

More news and results on the 2011 elections can be found at www.spokesman/elections .

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