Washington voters reject Eyman’s anti-tolling measure

Effort encountered broad opposition

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OLYMPIA — Voters have rejected Tim Eyman’s anti-tolling measure, Initiative 1125.

The measure was getting only 48.44 percent of the vote in unofficial returns released Wednesday evening. Many of the remaining hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count were in King County, the state’s most populous, which was sharply rejecting I-1125.

“Considering how much I-1125’s opponents outspent us, we are amazed at how close it was for I-1125,” Eyman said late Wednesday. “We are very proud of the extraordinary number of voters who approved I-1125. We look forward to continuing to fight for the taxpayers and give voters more choices at the ballot box.”

Eyman did have success in local measures that he backed. A year after he led a successful movement to oppose traffic cameras in his hometown of Mukilteo, three cities took a similar approach. Bellingham passed an advisory vote to remove the cameras. Monroe voters indicated they wanted to end the traffic camera program in 2013. Longview opposed red-light cameras while giving the OK to speed cameras in school zones.

Traffic camera foes argue that the ticketing systems don’t significantly improve safety and that cities use them to collect revenue.

Eyman’s statewide measure struggled against broad opposition, from business groups to Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. State leaders have complained that it would eliminate a key source of revenue that would be used for major transportation overhauls, such as the 520 bridge replacement and a new Columbia River bridge connecting Vancouver and Portland.

The measure also proposed a major provision that would have effectively ended a plan to run light rail across the Interstate 90 bridge into Seattle. Eyman’s initiative campaign was largely funded by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, who has battled against light rail proposals for years.