McKenna on KIRO: Toll lanes and ST3

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about the debate over I-405 toll lane performance measures, as well as the valuation method used by Sound Transit to tax car values. On 405, some believe the law requires that the express toll lane project be shut down because one performance measure – that the average speed must be a minimum of 45 mph 90% of the time – is not being met.

Dave Ross: “The law sounds pretty clear to me. It seems to say that either you meet these benchmarks or you don’t, and if you don’t, the express toll lanes must be terminated.”

Rob McKenna: “So the question is whether or not the statute requires automatic termination of these express toll lanes if even one of the performance measures isn’t met – as opposed to only terminating them if all the performance measures aren’t being met.

“And that’s where the disagreement is. Rep. Harmsworth believes that if even one of the measures fails – in this case, the average speed is not hitting 45 mph 90% of the time – then that results in automatic termination. But it sounds like the state transportation commission thinks that all the performance measures have to fail before you automatically terminate.

“The statute is not clear, because it doesn’t say that ‘all the performance measures are not being met’ results in termination, it just says ‘performance measures.’ It also doesn’t say ‘If any one of the performance measures aren’t being met, the project is terminated.’ It just isn’t clear in that regard. It’s hard to tell if that was deliberate or just sloppy drafting.”

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