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Topic: tolls

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May 22, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Board approves 520 bridge toll boost, to $3.70 peak

The cost of crossing the old Highway 520 floating bridge will increase by 11 cents each way on July 1, to $3.70 at peak times. The Washington State Transportation Commission says it approved the change Wednesday morning, while meeting in Port Townsend. This sort of annual boost has been in the fiscal plan for years, and is prescribed by…

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0 Comments | More in General news, Traffic & Transit | Topics: Highway 520 Bridge, increase, tolls

March 14, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Reduce tolls? Highway 99 tunnel panel grasps at ideas

Distance-based tolls, peak-only tolling, and a wide range of rates from 50 cents to $3 are now on the table, as the Highway 99 tunnel’s toll advisory committee looks at a broader spectrum of ideas for raising revenue.

At a Wednesday meeting, committee members seemed far from solving the fundamental problem, after 11 meetings in 16 months.  Any toll high enough to reap $200 million for construction costs will cause drivers to opt for downtown streets, which are already near full. Models show there wouldn’t even be a boost in peak traffic on I-5 because the freeway is saturated.

Not only are tolls expected to finance $200 million of the $3.1 billion Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement over 30 years – but over the years, state officials quietly assumed the tolls could cover operations, maintenance, insurance and long-term equipment replacement, comprising another $400 million. Toll-backed financing is much weaker than what pro-tunnel officials assured the public back in 2009, when lawmakers voted to build a tunnel.

The latest scenarios include two that raise money:

  • Varying the rates based on whether drivers enter and exit via local streets, or continue on the highway toward Green Lake, Shoreline, West Seattle, or Burien. This would be done using electronic readers at the South Lake Union and Sodo interchanges. In late afternoon, a “short” rate might be $1.20, a “medium” rate $2.10, or a “long” rate of $3.
  • A simpler, high-revenue matrix of $2.25 morning peak, $1.50 mid-day, and $2.75 afternoon peak.

And two that minimize diversion to downtown streets:

  • A peak-only toll of $1.75, charged from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Cheap rates of 50 cent off-peak, of 75 cents peak, and free at night.
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0 Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: alaskan way viaduct, Highway 99 tunnel, tolls

January 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Alcatraz northwest? Mercer Islanders say I-90 tolls would isolate them

Tolling on Interstate 90 is perhaps three years away, but about 800 residents of Mercer Island were already alarmed enough to attend a forum Tuesday night about the state’s proposal to charge I-90 motorists for the sake of finishing the new Highway 520 bridge. “We don’t have any choice but to pay a toll to get off our…

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0 Comments | More in Government, Traffic & Transit | Topics: I-90 bridge, Mercer Island, tolls

December 28, 2012 at 6:52 AM

Friday Memo: Paintball shooting spree … 2 dead in Green River crash … Richard Sherman tweets

Paintball shooting spree: A trio of teens in Spokane cruised through some neighborhoods yesterday shooting paintballs at people walking down the street. Five people got hit, but cops soon got the shooters before any more splattering was done. One person was treated for injuries. Two people died when a car went into the…

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0 Comments | More in Morning Memo | Topics: crash, paintball, Richard Sherman

December 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

A cure for transportation envy: light-rail use down in Portland, toll troubles in Vancouver

A favorite pastime among the mobile “creative class” in Seattle is complaining that our transportation systems are inferior to those in Vancouver, B.C., and Portland. But recent news from the neighbors reveals them as anything but nirvana. * Transit use in metro Portland dropped 1.1 percent in September to November 2012 compared to a year earlier, even as…

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0 Comments | Topics: King County Metro Transit, Portland, tolls

January 7, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Morning Memo/Saturday: A tethered dog … A tolled bridge … A spot of winter color

Weather: If  you’re planning some outdoor time this weekend, Sunday might be the best bet. Expect some light rain and temps in the mid-40s today, but it should warm up and dry out a bit by Sunday. Traffic: Volumes picked up on the 520 bridge by Thursday this week, despite the new variable tolls, says…

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0 Comments | More in Morning Memo | Topics: 520 bridge, dog, Seattle

January 3, 2012 at 8:04 AM

520 bridge traffic down 37% so far today

About 37 percent fewer drivers than normal crossed the 520 bridge between 6 and 7 a.m. this morning, transportation officials said. Some 2,600 vehicles crossed during that time, compared with the typical 4,200, said Patty Michaud, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. About 85 percent of them had state-issued Good to Go stickers that…

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0 Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: 520, commute, tolls

December 30, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Traffic on 520 stays way, way down

Only 44,300 vehicles crossed the Highway 520 floating bridge Thursday, the first day of new tolls on the aging span. That’s about 60 percent less than the 115,000 who make the trip on a typical weekday, according to the latest numbers released by the state today. But on toll-free Interstate-90 and Highway 522, traffic was close to…

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0 Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: 520 bridge, Interstate 90, numbers

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