A new report from data company INRIX reveals that travel speeds on I-405 have “generally gotten worse” for commuters. The reports states, “Comparison of pre- and post-toll conditions… shows extended peak hour conditions for most segments in the peak direction of travel for those in the general purpose lanes.” Additionally, the study confirms “slower speeds during the peak hour in the general purpose lanes.”
Interestingly enough, the report also “suggests that post-toll speed improvements on I-405 are isolated to vehicles that already experience the least peak hour congestion.” The analysis casts serious doubt on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s previous claims of improvement.
The longer period of peak congestion and less traffic predictability on general purpose lanes have commuters more than frustrated, especially taking into account that the toll scheme is bringing in more than triple the estimated revenue that was projected last year. Drivers commuting on the corridor between Lynnwood and Bellevue spent $3.7 million between the September opening and the end of the year, compared to the original forecast of $1 million. GOP state Senator Andy Hill touched on that frustration in a recent statement.
“It shouldn’t come as any surprise to WSDOT that the data mirrored the frustrating experience drivers are having,” said Hill. “Then add to it the fact that the state is taking in millions of dollars more from those who resigned themselves to pay to escape traffic backups and you have taxpayers who don’t feel their interests are a priority of their state government.”
Sen. Hill, along with GOP state Representative Mark Harmsworth, attempted to propose a bill that would bring relief to I-405 drivers. Unfortunately, Democrat State Representative Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee, blocked the bill in the state House.
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