CHOKEPOINTS

Could express lane tolls go up to $15? Decisions to come this week

Dec 12, 2023, 10:00 AM | Updated: 10:02 am

(Photo from WSDOT)

(Photo from WSDOT)

The tolls on Interstate 405 and State Route 167 just aren’t doing the job. Plans to raise them will likely be approved this week.

Hitting my kazoo sound on 97.3 KIRO FM when we reach the $10 max on the 405 express toll lanes could become a thing of the past. I might have to wait until the price reaches  $12 or even $15 before we’re at the max.

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The Washington State Transportation Commission is expected to vote tomorrow to raise the rates to meet the current demand. The toll rates just aren’t high enough to hit its congestion goals during peak tolling hours.

It’s important to remember that the tolls here are designed to price people out of the lanes. The higher the price, the more the state hopes people opt to sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the main lines.

The goal is to give transit that 45-mile-an-hour trip, 90% of the time.

So, it’s time to raise the rates. Something that hasn’t been done on SR 167 in 15 years and more than eight years on I-405.

There are two options on the table. They are the same for both corridors.

Let’s look at I-405 first. The minimum toll now is $0.75. In both proposals, that minimum would go up to a dollar.

The maximum toll today is $10. It would go up to $12 in one plan and $15 in the second.

For SR 167, the minimum toll is $0.50. It would go up to a dollar in both proposals. The current max of nine dollars would go up to either $12 or $15.

It’s expected that one of these plans will be approved tomorrow. The public will get a chance to weigh in through mid-January.

The new prices are expected to take effect in March.

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Could express lane tolls go up to $15? Decisions to come this week