This letter was originally published on The Auto Reporter.
Dear Washington State Department of Transportation,

I am contacting you today regarding the new proposals for the I-405 taxing and tolling.

I own ONLY two people cars as there are only two people in my family. In order to NOT fill up the highways with cars much too large for my needs, I have decided to own small cars that will easily fit the needs in my life.
However, the Washington State Department of Transportation is discriminating against those of us who use and purchase a car that fits our lifestyle – regardless of whether or not it is filled to capacity – with new restrictions along the I-405 corridor that will ban ONLY two person cars filled to capacity from using the HOV lanes.
And, by that, I mean that I will be unable, barred, excluded, from using the entirety of HOV/HOT lanes along I-405 – a road that MY tax money is paying for, MY tab dollars are supporting, that MY payments to the government fund – and yet, I am denied access for ZERO reason.
Mind you, single occupancy and double occupancy motorcycles will be allowed, however a safer version in a car is barred from using HOV lanes during the only times in the day a person is likely to need to use them.
Instead of punishing two-person vehicles, DOT should be lauding those of us who choose small cars for our commutes, instead of those large SUV, trucks or even sedan behemoths that take up more room, damage the roadways more, and are more than most people need for their lives.
For myself, it is not economically sound to purchase a car that allows for more occupants when it is A) cost prohibitive on this journalists’ salary to purchase any kind of car (new or not), and B) not common sense to purchase a vehicle that does not fit my family’s needs.
As an owner of a two-person vehicle, I am being taxed to maintain all roads and motorways within Washington State just as every other drive, however I may now be banned from using certain lanes merely due to the fact that my car was not manufactured with more than two people in mind, regardless of whether the capacity is filled.
I pay the same $250 tab fee as everyone else in Seattle, even though my car is much smaller and much less damaging to roadways.
Apparently, small car owners do not have the same rights to use the road as do those who drive larger vehicles.
Sounds like discrimination to me.
Merriam Webster defines discrimination as, “the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually, or prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment.”
Merely because I have a small family, the Washington State Department of Transportation is telling me I cannot drive in the HOV lanes during the most common commute hours.
Is there a certain water fountain you’d rather have drivers of small cars use, WA DOT?
Because of my two-person, filled to capacity car, you’d like to to sit in the back of the bus … ahem, traffic all the while using my tax dollars to create an entire section of road I am barred from using.
What this is doing is created a two-tiered system for vehicle owners – even if you are filled to capacity you aren’t able to use the HOV because you’re a second class citizen/small car owner.
Consider this:
“Carpools with three or more people will be exempt from paying a toll at all times, and carpools with two people will be exempt, except during weekday peak hours (5 – 9 a.m. and3 – 7 p.m.).”
I take this as, “Even though you’re filled to capacity, you’re a second class citizen during certain times of the day.”
Combine that with this: “Motorcycles, transit vehicles, and vanpools will also be exempt.”
Basically meaning ONLY drivers of small cars, even if filled to capacity, will be BANNED from using the HOV lanes during the peak times of traffic.
The Washington DOT and GoodToGo system is CATEGORICALLY, rather than individually, taking prejudicial action and treatment against owners of small cars.
Now, if the two people cars are NOT filled to capacity, that is an all together different problem, however ANY vehicle filled to capacity should not be discriminated against when using the roads that all registered drivers in the State of Washington pay taxes for maintenance thereof.
It is of my honest opinion, that in this free country, I should not be punished for keeping my car at maximum capacity when that maximum capacity is a mere two people.
Single occupant motorcycles in the high occupancy lanes. Credit: Oregon Live, http://bit.ly/1Kw4YsD
Single occupant motorcycles in the high occupancy lanes. Credit: Oregon Live, http://bit.ly/1Kw4YsD

Mind you, there is a huge double standard when considering small cars versus motorcycles, which also carry the maximum of two people – if that capacity at all. Here is a vehicle that NEVER has to have two or more people within the vehicle to use the HIGH OCCUPANCY lanes. Here is a vehicle that will always be able to use the I – 405 HOV lanes without additional fees, even when occupancy is not full.

Yet, that is not the case for safer small cars.
This is discrimination based of nothing more than prejudice against small car owners, with zero basis in science or in common sense.
It is with the notion of FREEDOM and EQUALITY that I request the Washington DOT and GoodToGo system allow ANY vehicle at maximum capacity to utilize the carpool lanes during ANY time of day, regardless of traffic conditions, when said those cars are FILLED to capacity.
That is the only way to ensure equality on the roads with zero discrimination based off of preferred lifestyle choices.
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Deanna Isaacs the owner, editor-in-chief and lead journalist at The Auto Reporter. She graduated from the University of Washington's Communication department in 2014 with a BA in Journalism. She enjoys sports cars, working on her classic two-seaters and long drives where she can annoy the husband. You can reach Deanna Isaacs using the Contact Us form: https://www.theautoreporter.com/contact/.