Sunday, July 27, 2008

Toll I-90 to Turn Mercer Island into Gated Community ?!?

Some Seattle-area politicians want to toll the I-90 bridge, as a means of paying for important fixes to the I-520 corridor.

This would mean you'd have to pay to get in to or out of Mercer Island!

Wow! Let's overlook the unconstitutionality of this proposed restriction on the right to travel. While there's little wrong with tolls per se, as long as you have a reasonable alternative, as applied the toll keeps Seattle residents from getting to Mercer Island at all, and vice versa, without paying. That such tolls were imposed in the past doesn't affect the inherent wrongfulness of imprisoning people in their home towns unless they pay to get out. Of course, that's an inherent problems with tolls, HOT-lanes, and the like.

By predicating government services on the ability to pay, they take us further down the road of a pre-1776 society, one in which a small aristocracy lives well and the rest of us scrape by, tugging our forelocks as the toffs zoom by. A lot of people think that the England of "A Christmas Carol" and "Oliver Twist" was a happy place ... .

But, I digress. I just think it's funny that local politicos want to turn that pleasant small town into a government-enforced gated community. It'll be hard on Mercer Island's residents who, contrary to local folklore, include a lot of low- and middle-income people. There's a reason that the Mercer Island Thrift Store is popular among the locals.

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