As the temperature goes up, so do Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls.
The toll rates will increase 25 cents on Monday, the first of two increases approved by the Washington State Transportation Commission in May. The second 25-cent increase will take effect on July 1, 2014.
Good to Go! tolls will be $4.25, and tollbooth and pay-by-mail tolls will be $5.25 and $6.25, respectively.
State official financed the project by backloading the debt in an effort to keep tolls as low as possible when the new span opened in July 2007. Officials assumed increases in tolls — the financing plan anticipated $1 toll increases every three years to a maximum of $6 in 2016 — and usage from population growth would generate enough money to make the escalating debt payments.
But the annual traffic count has remained flat and revenue has only increased following a toll hike. The count has hovered around 14 million a year and is projected to end the budget year that wraps up Sunday at the lowest level since the eastbound span opened nearly six years ago.
The bridge was projected to take in $60.6 million in toll revenue during the current budget year thanks to a toll hike that took effect in July, the first increase in four years.
Tollpayers faced the prospect of a steeper rate hike this year but the transportation commission allowed some flexibility in how it accounts for an emergency cushion it would draw upon in the event of an extended bridge closure.
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