ROADS/BRIDGES: I-405 express toll lanes generates $3.7M in 3 months

Feb. 9, 2016

The I-405 express toll lanes brought in $3.7 million in tolls, triple what transportation officials predicted

I-405 express toll lanes are generating over three times more money than the state of Washington originally forecasted. Washington state law requires that the money collected from the tolls must be reinvested in I-405.

Drivers spent $3.7 million between September 2015 and December 2015, with traffic volumes reaching peak levels once drivers realized the value of the express toll lanes.  State data estimates that roughly 17% of peak-time toll payers spent more than $4, state data show. 

The new lanes allow solo drivers to pay for a less congested and speedier trip by paying to enter the bus-carpool lane. Tolls vary, based on congestion, to maintain a 45-mph flow. About 50,000 vehicles per weekday use the express toll lanes.

“Travel times have improved for drivers traveling the entire corridor, and have provided an immediate benefit of a reliable trip for transit,” said a letter by Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) Chair Anne Haley of Walla Walla, Wash., and deputy transportation secretary Roger Millar.

However, not everyone is happy with the express toll lanes and its revenue. Republican Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond said that WSDOT mismanaged its forecast by a factor of 3.7, so it should consider giving motorists a refund.

Following the criticism from the state legislature, transportation officials said that they will work toward removing tolls at night and on weekends and holidays. 

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