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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Initiative Measure 1125

Election Results

Option Votes Pct
No 897,220 52.44%
Yes 813,613 47.56%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Measure

The Law as it Presently Exists

The legislature has enacted various laws that direct where and how tolls can be set for bridges, ferries, tunnels, roads, and related facilities. Those laws also restrict the ways in which toll revenue can be used. Initiative Measure No. 1125 would impose additional restrictions on the use of toll revenue.

The Eighteenth Amendment to the Washington Constitution requires that certain state revenue be used only for “highway purposes.” That amendment, which was approved in 1944, provides that the following revenue must be paid into the state treasury and placed in a special fund to be used exclusively for “highway purposes”: all fees the state collects as license fees for motor vehicles; all excise taxes the state collects on the sale, distribution, or use of motor vehicle fuel; and all other state revenue “intended to be used for highway purposes.” That fund is the “motor vehicle fund” established in RCW 46.68.070. The Eighteenth Amendment also lists some uses that must be considered “highway purposes,” including the necessary operating, engineering, and legal expenses connected with the administration of public highways, county roads, and city streets; and the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of public highways, county roads, bridges, and city streets.

Since well before the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment, the legislature has authorized the use of tolls as one means of paying for the acquisition, construction, and operation of bridges, ferries, tunnels, roads, and related facilities. That authority includes the use of tolls to retire bonds issued to finance acquisition and construction of bridges, ferries, tunnels, roads, and related facilities; tolls used for that purpose must be deposited in special trust funds kept separate from all other funds.

Under current law, the legislature must authorize the collection of tolls but it can delegate the authority to set the amounts of tolls. The legislature has designated the state Transportation Commission as the “tolling authority” responsible for setting most tolls, under standards and guidelines established in law to ensure that the revenue generated by tolls is sufficient to pay maintenance and operating costs for the facility; pay principal and interest on bonds, related financing costs, and insurance; and reimburse the motor vehicle fund for any money used from that fund to pay for bonds. Unless otherwise provided in law, all revenue from a toll facility is to be used for that facility, and tolls may continue to be collected after initial construction has been paid for to fund additional capacity, maintenance, and operation of the facility.

The Effect of the Proposed Measure, if Approved

Initiative Measure No. 1125 would require that toll amounts be set by the legislature by majority vote, rather than by the Transportation Commission, and would make the setting of toll amounts subject to statutes that require preparation of various reports and analyses relating to costs. It would require that tolls be “uniform and consistent” and would not allow variable pricing of tolls. (“Variable priced” tolls typically are higher during periods of traffic congestion and lower at other times of the day or week.)

While the measure would leave in place the authority to collect and use tolls for the preservation, maintenance, management, and operation of a facility, it would add provisions that limit the use of some tolls to construction and capital improvement only and that require tolls on future facilities to end after the cost of the project is paid. The measure would require revenue from tolls to be used only for purposes “consistent with” the Eighteenth Amendment, and would prohibit any revenue in the motor vehicle fund or any toll fund from being transferred to the “general fund or other funds” and used for “non-transportation purposes.”

The measure would restate the existing requirement that tolls must be used on the facility for which they are collected, explicitly referencing the Interstate 90 floating bridge. The measure also would prohibit the state or a state agency from transferring or using “gas-tax-funded or toll-funded lanes on state highways” for “non-highway purposes.”

SOURCE: Washington Secretary of State’s Office

Complete Coverage

King County opposition dooms tolling proposal

OLYMPIA — A state ballot measure to place new restrictions on projects involving toll roads and bridges has failed.

Bell tolls for I-1125

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Millions spent for initiatives in final push

OLYMPIA – Led by a multimillion dollar battle over liquor sales in Washington, initiatives and candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot have spent more than $18 million to sway voters in the past three weeks. This may not surprise state residents who can’t turn on the television without seeing firefighters argue whether voters’ lives will be better or worse if state-run liquor stores go away. Other state initiative campaigns have their own TV messages, and campaigns are filling mailboxes with mailers.

2011 elections: Who’s spending what

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I-1125: Good democracy or bad economics?

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Biz groups turn thumbs down on I-1125

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AWB: No on tolling init; yes on liquor init

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State GOP: Yes on I-1125

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Mixed fiscal outlook on initiatives

OLYMPIA – Washington would collect more revenue if an initiative to privatize liquor sales passes, but could pay more for road projects if another ballot measure on toll roads succeeds. That’s the best estimate of the Office of Financial Management, which recently released its analyses of the three measures headed for the Nov. 8 ballot.

OFM looks at the initatives

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Lawsuit challenges supermajority for taxes

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Liquor, tolls, care staff initiatives likely qualify for November ballot

OLYMPIA – Washington voters will likely face proposals on tolls, liquor and home health care workers on the November ballot. But not on chickens or marijuana.