CHOKEPOINTS

How Washington has managed its toll roads during COVID shutdowns

Sep 1, 2020, 7:52 AM
tolls, ETL, toll roads...
The I-405 toll lanes in Kirkland. (WSDOT)
(WSDOT)

I started tracking revenues from toll roads, along with the revenue losses at Sound Transit, Metro and the state ferry system, once it became clear that the pandemic was making a serious dent in their finances. Toll roads in Washington are still seeing 29% less use today than on September 1 of 2019, but that’s a vast improvement over where they were after the initial stay at home orders went into effect in March.

By far the best performers continues to be the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which is only seeing single-digit decreases over last year, and the 167 HOT lanes, which are also seeing a single-digit dip.

I-405 and SR 99 saw 80 to 85% drops in use in April. They have since recovered a little bit. SR 99 is still off by 65%, and I-405 is off more than 40%.

So what does this mean for the bottom line?

Total revenue for 2020 is just under $179 million, which is an 18% drop over the 2019 revenue forecast.

But the silver lining here is this: After the cratering through the first quarter, the state revised its revenue forecasts based on COVID usage, and the toll roads actually outperformed that revised forecast.

School zone cameras

Listener Andrew reached out to me over the weekend and asked me about the school zone cameras in Seattle. He wondered if the city was going to be using the cameras to enforce the school zones, even with most kids learning remotely.

Since April, there have been 20 active school zones, where the 20 mile-an-hour speed limit was being enforced. That’s because those schools were being used as food pickup spots.

I asked the Seattle Department of Transportation if the school zones would be active, despite no active learning or kids on campus. The city says the cameras will be active and the speed limits will be enforced.

But it sounds like it will only be at a certain number of schools, not all of them. The city is waiting to hear from the school district for list of schools that will need the enforcement, where kids will be be there and where meals are being picked up.

Chokepoints

wood plank, sr 169...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT archaeologist solves mystery of structure under Maple Valley Highway

The Maple Valley Highway finally reopened to all traffic Wednesday after an unexpected discovery pushed a weekend culvert project out three days.
5 days ago
WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT accounts for 21% of state employees fired over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
7 days ago
Maple Valley Highway...
Chris Sullivan

King County crews find mystery structure under Maple Valley Highway

You never know what you'll find when you dig in this corner of the country. Road crews found that out this weekend when fixing a culvert under Highway 169.
7 days ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Chris Sullivan

Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car

The old ways of getting to the arena in downtown Seattle have intentionally been made more difficult so that public transit is a more palatable option.
12 days ago
I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Why there are bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle (and when they’ll go away)

When KIRO Radio's Dave Ross asks you to update something for him, you do it. So what's with those annoying bumps on I-5 SB out of downtown Seattle?
14 days ago
I-90, grooves...
Chris Sullivan

Why are portions of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass so ‘groovy’?

Another question from Chris Sullivan's recent driving: What's with the horizontal grooves on portions of I-90, east of Snoqualmie Pass?
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
How Washington has managed its toll roads during COVID shutdowns