What jumped out at me from the Tolling Implementation Committee report, which was just submitted to the Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire, is that huge difference in the amount of tolls they’re talking about.
The highest toll scenario I saw in the report said the range of tolls in 2016 would be between 95 cents on the low end and $5.35 on the high end. The average would be $2.92. (Their tolls will be variable — higher during peak commute, lower at night.)
But why so low? That’s less than half what Narrows Bridge commuters will be paying in 2016. The current schedule says we’ll be paying $6 to drive across the Narrows.
UPDATE: I was wrong. Rick Olson, spokesman for the Puget Sound Regional Council, said the tolls collected on the 520 bridge will be collected in EACH direction — not just ONE direction, as they are on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. That puts the tolls pretty much on par. The $2.92 average toll, times 2, would be almost $6. I’ve tacked Rick’s e-mail to the bottom of this posting, and I’ll do a separate one, too.
Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, told me a couple years ago that her goal was to have the same toll on 520 and the Narrows.
The report is 40 pages. I’ve got more reading ahead of me.
The Legislature has to decide whether to start tolling Highway 520 early, perhaps in 2010, or wait until after most of the work to replace the bridge is done, in 2016 or 2018 or so. They also have to decide whether to toll Interstate 90 bridge, too, to keep motorist from ducking the toll on only one bridge.
Read more »