Plan to toll I-90 angers Mercer Islanders

Cold reality is setting in for drivers of Interstate 90, who three years from now might have to pay $1,900 a year to cross Lake Washington.

I-90 tolls would help the state close a deficit of $1.4 billion to complete the new $4.1 billion, six-lane Highway 520 floating bridge, three miles north — a bridge Mercer Island residents say they rarely use.

“I’m really considering selling my house and moving,” said Denise Joffe, a Mercer Island resident. “Why should I be paying a toll for somebody else’s bridge?”

For others, in a vast area from Kirkland to West Seattle, the choice of bridges is more flexible, shown by the fact that 15,000 driversa day are diverting to toll-free I-90 since the state imposed a toll 13 months ago on the old 520 crossing.

State lawmakers have talked about adding tolls to I-90 since the mid-2000s, but don’t expect to vote until 2014 on a bill to authorize them. After that, installing tolling devices could take another two years. For now, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is taking comments from the public, to decide what issues to explore in an environmental-impact study, costing $2 million.

Joffe was among 800 people at a forum Tuesday night on Mercer Island, where the “No Tolls on I-90” supporters brought an information table, a couple of pickets and a toilet seat to symbolize how their money would be flushed away.

Wednesday’s session in Bellevue drew only 147 people in the first two hours. A third open house is Thursday in Seattle.

Toll rates likely would match the variable rates charged on Highway 520, currently peaking at $3.59 each way, said House Transportation Committee chairwoman Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

A common misconception is that federal law forbids tolling an interstate, but the Federal Highway Administration has said it is open to I-90 bridge tolls, especially if they are designed to control congestion.

Clibborn, who says tolls are inevitable, is at odds with constituents such as Owen Blauman, whose sign said “Keep I-90 a FREE WAY.”

“We don’t have any choice but to pay a toll to get off our island. That’s the fundamental problem,” he said. “It’s a little bit like Alcatraz.”

With an average home value of $830,000, according to Zillow, “the rock” is hardly The Rock. And for many years, it has enjoyed federally funded park lids, along with exclusive access for Mercer Island solo drivers to use the fast-moving I-90 express lanes.

One WSDOT option would split the corridor in half, so toll devices would be mounted over the west and east edges of the island. That way, instead of a $4 toll each way, islanders would pay $2 each way going west into Seattle or east to Bellevue.

Clibborn would prefer one free and one full-rate route off the island.

There’s a Machiavellian cleverness to the tolling strategy: Charge to cross 520, measure the congestion on I-90 when drivers divert, then promote I-90 tolls as an antidote, all to raise money toward 520.

It’s imperative to give I-90 toll payers some benefit, beyond time savings when tolls deter some traffic, officials said.

Some toll income should be set aside to improve bus service from Eastgate and Issaquah, said Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center. Clibborn suggested flyover ramps at the I-90/I-405 junction for buses and carpools.

But she warns there won’t be a huge surplus, after covering a still daunting bill to build the Seattle landings of Highway 520.


会社, New iPad 5,2013 発売?


New iPad 5の発売が発売されそうですね。こんな感じでしょうか?


Boeing 787 Inflight 200 Retro Livery

これは何だ?と思われる方があるとは思いますが、Boeing 787の1:200スケールのモデルです。全世界でそれぞれ最大24機までの受注生産品で、私も発注を早速行いました。特に日本航空と全日本空輸は、版権の都合で日本国内では入手不可能なマニア泣かせなモデルです。お気づきの通り、Liveryはレトロタイプでして実機で同じデザインは存在しないというものです。

Japan Airlines 日本航空
All Nippon Airways 全日本空輸
Air Canada
Delta Airlines
United Airlines

米アマゾン第4四半期は56%の営業増益、時間外で株価急騰 Amazon Rises After Reporting Widening North American Margin

[サンフランシスコ 29日 ロイター] ネット通販世界最大手の米アマゾン・ドット・コム<AMZN.O>が29日発表した第4・四半期決算は、利益率の高い事業が年末商戦で好調に推移したことから、営業利益が前年同期比56%増の4億0500万ドル、売上高が22%増の212億7000万ドルとなった。








こうした新たな事業が従来のネット通販事業よりも急速に拡大しており、利益率の押し上げに貢献している。 Inc. (AMZN), the world’s largest Internet retailer, rose in late trading after reporting gains in sales and North American operating margin, signs that the company benefited from a jump in online holiday shopping.
Enlarge image
An employee loads a truck with boxes to be shipped at the Inc. distribution center in Phoenix. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel discusses Amazon’s fourth-quarter earnings and stock price. He speaks with Adam Johnson and Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Fourth-quarter sales climbed 22 percent to $21.3 billion, the Seattle-based company said today in a statement. Analysts on average had projected $22.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Operating margin in North America widened to 5 percent from 2.9 percent a year earlier. Shares rose as much as 12 percent in extended trading.
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is pumping money into new warehouses, seeking to give consumers a reason to choose Amazon over going to the mall by offering two-day delivery. The company said today it added 20 shipment hubs last year. The wider margins show that investment is starting to pay off, and helping Amazon grab a bigger share of the record $42.3 billion ComScore Inc. (SCOR) estimates was spent online over the holidays.
“If you break apart their businesses, the U.S. is more mature than some of their international markets, where they’re in the very early stages,” said Tom Forte, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group. “I wouldn’t be surprised if investors are looking at that performance — operating margin in North America — as a sign that, despite the continued rate of investment by the company, there’s an opportunity for margin expansion.”
Amazon shares climbed as high as $290.49 after the report. They had fallen 5.7 percent to $260.35 at the close in New York. The stock jumped 45 percent in 2012.
Operating Income
The operating margin growth in North America was driven in part by an increase in sales by third parties in the fourth quarter. Those sales made up 39 percent of units purchased, compared with 36 percent the year before, Amazon Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said on a conference call. Those purchases boost margins because Amazon collects a commission on any item sold by an outside vendor and books that income as 100 percent profit.
Fourth-quarter operating income rose to $405 million, the company said, compared with an average estimate of $212.1 million. Net income fell to $97 million, or 21 cents a share, from $177 million, or 38 cents, a year earlier, the company said.
Spending on fulfillment jumped 36 percent to $2.26 billion in the fourth quarter, Amazon said. Worldwide operating margin was 1.9 percent, making this the sixth straight period of margins narrower than 2 percent. Operating margin, a measure of profitability, reflects operating income as a percentage of net sales.
First-quarter operating income will range from a loss of $285 million to profit of $65 million, Amazon said. Sales will rise to $15 billion to $16.6 billion, compared with an average analyst estimate of $16.8 billion.
Fulfillment Network
Amazon is the only company “that is able to leverage a global fulfillment network to drive disruption of traditional offline retail sales,” Scott Devitt, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note to clients. “The market is underestimating the long-term international sales opportunity and the cost leverage that will occur as fulfillment investments drive lower unit-variable shipping costs.”
The spending on fulfillment may help Amazon gain share in a worldwide e-commerce market that Devitt estimated will reach $1 trillion by 2016, up from $512 billion last year. By then, Amazon’s share will be 23.5 percent, pushing the company’s total sales to $166 billion, he projected in a Jan. 6 note.

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