For seven days, beginning tonight, westbound I-90 will be reduced to one lane near Bellevue Way as the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) replaces expansion joints on the East Channel bridge connecting Bellevue to Mercer Island. WSDOT asks drivers to consider changing their commute habits to help reduce the expected massive delays.
While state officials stress the need for drivers to accommodate the update plans, they continue to refuse to offer the same courtesy in return. Specifically, ignoring public pleas, “state officials are pressing forward with their plan to impose fully-priced tolls on those hit hardest by the road closure.” WSDOT insists that “they cannot exempt the public from paying tolls on SR-520 during the I-90 construction project, because it needs the $1.3 million in revenue to pay back debt.”
However, the state “could lessen the burden on travelers by temporarily reducing tolls on the bridge” and avoid default. The Washington Policy Center explains that the “diversion of traffic away from I-90 and onto SR-520 could dramatically boost traffic on the 520 floating bridge, allowing users to pay less and still provide the $1.3 million in toll revenues the Commission requires.”
Three scenarios by which state officials can help drivers out include,
- The Commission could charge fully-priced tolls next week and collect $1.6 million: Prior to imposing tolls on SR-520, the westbound lanes averaged 330,995 trips per week. After tolling, trips on westbound SR-520 reached 224,735 last year, a 32% reduction from 2011 levels.
If the westbound lanes reach pre-tolling traffic levels next week the state will collect over $1.6 million in tolls (based on the June 2014 forecast of $2.99 average toll), assuming eastbound trips remain at the current levels. That equates to $319,000 in additional toll revenue the state didn’t budget for.
- The Commission could provide toll relief for all 520 traffic: Based on higher traffic (assuming westbound 520 meets its pre-toll levels of traffic) if the WSTC wanted to lower the tolls and still meet their $1.3 million toll requirement, they could lower the average toll imposed on all drivers by $0.59.
- The Commission could provide toll relief for 520 Westbound travelers only: If the WSTC wanted to ease the burden on westbound travelers alone, they could lower the average toll imposed to $2.03 per trip, saving the average toll payer nearly a dollar when going westbound.
Unfortunately, it is improbable that state officials will consider any of the possibilities to lessen commuters stress in the coming week. The refusal to help drivers out comes after lawmakers increased debt by $110 million dollars on the SR-520 project to pay for cost overruns. As the Washington Policy Center puts it, “To some, it seems unfair that the public is asked to pay over one hundred million dollars more than they thought, but can’t get a week’s worth of toll relief when times get tough.”
Washington State Govt has learned well from the Progressives in D.C. While Washington is a beautiful state, the Progressives are turning the state into a GAY mecca of liberal idiots. After spending most of my life in the Evergreen State, I moved out this yerar AND DON’T MISD THE PUTRID (I MEAN PEGET) SOUND AT ALL!!!!!!
Doug Wotton says
your just a souse of money to him much like a pimp treat’s his hoe’s so back out on the street bitch
So, you got a new bridge & don’t want to pay for it ???
Sad, the nanny state folks want free stuff…..
What new bridge did we get?
In fairness to WSDOT, it is the HIGHWAY COMMISSION that didn’t adjust the fare on the 520. WSDOT has nothing to do with the toll rates.
So, fie on the Highway Commission (inslee appointees).
Could someone help me out, PLEASE. Washington has the fourth highest gas tax of all the 49 states so how do the other 45 states fund their roads? They seem to get buy without asking for more and more tax on their gasoline.
I know some of the gas tax revenue goes for the Wa. State ferry system, and it seems they are always saying they are short on money-like every other business just charge more to use the ferries. NO THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY OF AN ANSWER, I’m sure those on the east side of the state love that part of their gas tax money goes to the Wa. State Ferry System and I’m sure that most have NEVER ever rode on the state ferries. I live in Seattle and I ride the ferries maybe JUST MAYBE once every two years. Then I see some of the screw-up that has been done on the newer ferries with the strain less steel pipes which were installed then failed and the gates which some cars can’t get over without dragging, Just makes me proud to see how well my gas tax money is being spent—-RIGHT
Robin Hood says
Sure, WA has a high road tax, because we have lots of infrastructure, unlike many barren states that don’t.