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Tag: HOT lanes


Tim Eyman toll restrictions likely to reach ballot

Tim Eyman today turned in what he says are 327,000 signatures in support of an initiative that would restrict tolls in Washington.

It’s likely enough to ensure voters decide on I-1125. The initiative would call for ending tolls on a project when construction is paid off, and requiring tolls to stay at the same price all day rather than rising and falling with traffic as they do on Route 167’s toll lanes.

His measure would also buttress existing state laws and constitutional provisions that:

  • keep tolls on one road or bridge from being used to pay for another project.

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Lawmakers agree to extra time on Route 167 HOT lanes project

Lawmakers have agreed to continue operating toll lanes on Route 167 through June 2013.

The yearlong extension of the high occupancy toll lanes pilot project is included in a transportation budget deal that could receive a Senate floor vote Wednesday.

Since May 2008, commuters on the stretch of Route 167 between Auburn and Renton  have been able to pay to use car-pool lanes and reach their destination faster.

Traffic is moving faster in all lanes of the highway since the charges began, the Department of Transportation says. But the project continues to lose money, even as the lanes

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Plan would continue Route 167 HOT lanes experiment

Buried in the House transportation budget is permission for an extra year of the pilot project that allows lone drivers to buy their way into car pool lanes between Auburn and Renton.

House Transportation Committee chairwoman Judy Clibborn wants to extend the state Route 167 experiment until June 2013 because she is trying to put the same pay-to-use lanes — known as high occupancy toll or HOT lanes — on Interstate 405 from Lynnwood to Bellevue. Eventually, she foresees connecting the two stretches of lanes, and she doesn’t want the Route 167 project to lapse before that can happen.

“I want them from Lynnwood to Puyallup,” said Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

A large expansion of the lanes would ease traffic congestion and help raise money for improvements to I-405 and the extension of Route 167 to the Port of Tacoma, she and other supporters say.

The HOT lanes continue to lose money nearly three years after the four-year pilot project began. But WSDOT says they are about to start breaking even, because with the start of tolling on the Route 520 bridge, the costs of state tolling are spread among more toll projects.

“Now they don’t cost us anything,” Clibborn said.

Rep. Mark Hargrove of Covington, a freshman Republican who helped write the transportation budget,  says the HOT lanes were a bad idea from the beginning. But if the state is no longer losing money on them, he said, it doesn’t hurt to wait an extra year to shut down the project. Read more »