Tolling may begin on Sammamish River bridges



KENMORE, Wash. - The city of Kenmore may begin tolls on two bridges that some drivers may be using to get around paying the toll on the 520 Floating Bridge.


The city's mayor said most of the traffic on the Sammamish River bridges is from people outside of the city, and he thinks they should have to pay.


The city of Kenmore estimates that more than 24,000 vehicles drive across the bridges every day -- far more than the 21,000 people who live here.


"It's not Kenmore residents crossing that bridge," said Mayor David Baker.


Baker said he believes many of them are avoiding the tolls on 520.


"In the meantime, our roads -- specifically Juanita Drive, 68th Street and the two bridges there on the Sammamish River -- are wearing out," he said.


That is especially true of the southbound bridge, built in 1938.   The city estimates it needs $20 to $35 million to replace it. City leaders are thinking of raising the money with a toll.


"Is it fair to the taxpayers of Kenmore who are already paying for the maintenance of their roads to pay for wear and tear caused by other people?"


But one Bothell resident told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News the idea is "the dumbest thing I've ever heard."


Randy McSmith said it would set an expensive precedent.


"And because there's too many people that aren't going to have a say in it that are going to be impacted by it," McSmith said.


The mayor estimates the toll could be $1. Residents probably wouldn't have to pay at all.


The matter won't be on the ballot for at least another year, but the City Council is discussing the issue after its regular meeting Monday night.