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Unscientific poll: Drivers won’t pay over $10 for I-405 tolls

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on I-405 in Feb. 2016, in Bothell. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Drivers refuse to pay more than $10 to drive in the Express Toll Lanes on I-405, according to an unscientific poll conducted by KIRO Radio via Twitter.

RELATED: I-405 toll lanes not making the grade after 2 years

KIRO Radio asked listeners what would be the maximum amount they would pay to drive in the I-405 Express Toll Lanes after a report revealed the lanes are missing a crucial benchmark: keep peak-hour traffic moving at least 45 miles per hour 90 percent of the time.

To free up the lanes and improve corridor performance, researchers at the University of Minnesota suggested raising the maximum toll rate of $10. That would, in theory, price people out of the lane, which makes it easier for people to reach the speed threshold. Our survey says, yes, that might actually work.

Ninety-five percent of people said they’d pay no more than $10 to use the lanes. Two percent would pay $12, one percent would pay $15, and two percent would pay $20.

“Why isn’t $0 an option?” asked listener Jim.

There may be another option that would satisfy both drivers and the Legislature, which must decide if the speed benchmark is enough to override the monetary gain and end the program: fix the one section of I-405 destroying the 45 mph average.

RELATED: Critics say ‘WSDOT is breaking the law’ with I-405 toll lanes

According to WSDOT, the the southbound single toll lane section is only getting to 45 mph 63 percent of the time. The other sections of roadway are making it at well over 90 percent of the time.

Maybe that fix is worth another $2.

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