I-90 survey could determine tolls for Mercer Island

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 8:11 PM

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. -- Carl Dodrill is in the business of bringing music to the masses.
 
"It does wondrous things for people and for the human soul," said Dodrill.
 
He doesn't play the pipe organ. Dodrill makes them.

"To help save pipe organs being discarded and to make pipe organ music available to people who want it but can't afford it," he said.
 
Music makes sense to him. The survey that showed up in the mail does not.

"I'm puzzled," Dodrill said. "[It says] this is to help evaluate potential environmental and social effects of tolling, but I don't see how it can evaluate the social effects of tolling."
 
The real effects, says Dodrill, will be felt not just by Mercer Island residents but by the nearly 200 non-profits there. Dodrill is president of the Pipe Organ Foundation, which relies on volunteers, many of whom live off the island.

"If a person had to pay to come and volunteer, would they be willing to do it? That's the question," he said.
 
But that question is not on WSDOT's survey. It asks residents to track their I-90 trips for one week to Seattle and Bellevue, and to allow five minutes each night to tabulate their responses.

"For me it's going to take some effort," said Dodrill.
 
And it's going to take some effort to keep non-profits going if volunteers have to pay a toll each time. Dodrill wishes that was reflected on the survey. He's piped up about the concerns at public meetings before. Sharing the music for him would become more costly. It's why the idea of tolling, no matter how often he uses I-90, falls flat.
 
"This is a low cost project," Dodrill said, describing a pipe organ expansion project currently underway. "The tolling itself could in fact be a third of the cost of the project if tolling were put into effect."
 
The survey asks Mercer Island residents to record the total number of trips made to Seattle and Bellevue everyday for the week starting November 17. The results are due out early next year.
 

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