CHOKEPOINTS

State Legislature considers toll reduction for Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Mar 1, 2022, 5:28 AM

narrows bridge...

Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Flickr Creative Commons)

(Flickr Creative Commons)

Tolls will not be going away entirely on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but plans to cut those tolls are still alive in the Legislature.

A lot of people on the Kitsap Peninsula got really excited in December when Democratic state Senator Emily Randall pre-filed a bill that would have eliminated the tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Her bill would have transferred $772 million from the general fund to pay off all the debt and deferred sales tax for construction. That would have eliminated the tolls this year.

It did not pass, but a form of the bill is still alive. Substitute Senate Bill 5488 has passed the Senate floor and is now in the House for debate. It would transfer $130 million from the general fund over the next 10 years, and reduce the current toll rate by $0.75 and keep it at $4.50 for Good to Go pass holders.

Senator Randall told the House Transportation Committee on Monday that’s real money.

“It puts money back in the pockets of working people,” Sen. Randall said. “That’s about $195 for a single person that drives back and forth every weekday for a year.”

Sen. Randall said now is a good time to work on this, with the state revenue forecasts showing more money is available.

“At a time when we have such a strong budget outlook and unspent federal money for COVID recovery, the Legislature should seize the opportunity to significantly reduce the tolls,” she said.

There is a similar proposal in the House, which received its first hearing Monday. It would take $85 million from the general fund and apply it to the debt. That would reduce the current toll by $0.25. This was originally proposed as a loan in the 2018 legislative session, but it would become a grant under this plan, with no expectation it would be repaid.

House Representative Jesse Young is the sponsor of this plan.

“This simply acknowledges the fact that we have a little extra money and would convert these future paybacks,” he said.

There is still time in the session to hammer this out, but the House has to hustle, since there are only nine days left in the short session.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

Chokepoints

Police lights...

Micki Gamez

‘This is an ongoing effort:’ King County officers report 36 DUIs in one weekend

Last weekend King County officers conducted a mobile impaired driving unit to get drivers under the influence off the roads.

3 days ago

Image: A multi-vehicle collision including a semitruck on Interstate 5 in Fife slowed down traffic ...

Steve Coogan

1 killed in multi-vehicle crash on I-5 south in Fife; morning traffic affected

The Washington State Patrol is on the scene of a deadly multi-vehicle crash that occurred on I-5 south in Pierce County early Friday.

3 days ago

Photo: SDOT Roadway Structures Director Kit Loo inspects newly installed carbon fiber wrapping unde...

Micki Gamez

Upcoming construction: SDOT to prepare bridges for next big earthquake

There are 16 Seattle roadway and pedestrian bridges that need upgrading in the event the next big earthquake hits.

4 days ago

zipper merge...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Drivers slow to understand zipper merge, would better signs help?

With the lack of general merging etiquette in the Pacific Northwest, why are so many drivers slow to pick up and use the zipper merge?

4 days ago

Image: All lanes on Interstate 5 south in Everett were closed on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. It cause...

Steve Coogan

Shooting caused all lanes on I-5 south in Everett to close Wednesday

The Washington State Patrol is investigating a shooting that occurred late Wednesday morning I-5 south that closed all lanes for drivers.

5 days ago

beach driving washington...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: The do’s and don’ts of beach driving in Washington

Driving on the beach is one of those great experiences that we have here in Washington, but it appears that many people don't know the rules.

6 days ago

State Legislature considers toll reduction for Tacoma Narrows Bridge