Rep. Mark Harmsworth statement on rejection to consider I-405 toll lane amendments

During consideration of the supplemental transportation budget in the House Thursday, Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek, offered two amendments that would have modified the express toll lanes on I-405.

The first amendment would have required the immediate removal of one high occupancy toll (HOT) lane, while maintaining a single three-plus passenger high occupancy vehicle (HOT) lane that would remain open to the public on weekends, after 7 p.m. and holidays. The second would have required a complete reversal and removal of HOT lanes, reverting the I-405 corridor back to four general purpose lanes with one two-plus passenger HOV lane.

Both amendments were ruled “out of scope,” meaning their content did not fit within the title of the bill. Harmsworth disagreed with the ruling and issued the following statement:

“I am extremely disappointed that the Speaker rejected my amendments as ‘out of scope’ to the supplemental transportation budget. If the main goal of the HOT lanes was to reduce traffic and maximize the movement of people on I-405 they have failed miserably. The typical commuter now has new barriers to carpooling with three-plus HOV, limited entry and exit points, passes that don’t work and unpredictable pricing. Accidents reports are up and moving buses to the shoulder lane has caused even more safety concerns. Its time to call this what it is – an experiment in traffic gone bad. The HOT lanes need to be removed.

“For the typical driver traffic congestion is worse, not better. In fact, the express lanes only marginally benefit a small segment of people traveling on the I-405 corridor. While recent proposed changes will help weekend traffic, the peak hour travelers will see no relief. These lanes need to be changed sooner, not later,” said Harmsworth.

More information on the transportation supplemental budget is available from LEAP.
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