CHOKEPOINTS

Don’t expect lawmakers to end I-405 tolling yet

Jan 23, 2017, 12:03 PM

I-405, toll lanes, toll, tolls, 405 tolls, I-405 tolls...

(MyNorthwest file photo)

(MyNorthwest file photo)

The leaders of both Washington state’s House and Senate transportation committees say they won’t move on any bills to end tolling on I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood.

Report: Toll lanes not hitting benchmark speeds often enough

The Daily Herald reports the leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees appear to be ready to keep the toll lanes open, for now.

Head of the Senate transportation committee Curtis King says the state needs to wait for the results of the two-year pilot project. Next September would mark two years.

Rep. Judy Clibborn, who heads the House transportation committee, is considering making the toll lanes permanent in 2018, the Associated Press reports. The Herald reports that if that happened, the state would be able to sell bonds to help cover the costs of projects aimed at easing congestion on I-405.

State Rep. Mark Harmsworth introduced a bill to remove the tolls and convert one lane each way back to a carpool lane.

“Drivers are telling me day and night this isn’t working,” Harmsworth previously told KIRO Radio. He says drivers are complaining about more congestion in the general purpose lanes, as well as having to avoid the freeway altogether or moving or changing jobs because of them.

I-405 tolling ups and downs

The toll lanes have had their share of ups and downs. According to the first yearly report, the lanes far exceeded initial revenue expectations. That’s good for the state, which can pump that money back into the heavily-traveled corridor. On the other hand, the lanes haven’t always met the benchmark of maintained speeds of 45 mph.

The lanes were meeting the 90-percent benchmark until around June of last year. That dropped to about 85 percent afterward, with two key reasons highlighted: capacity between Bothell and Lynnwood and regional growth.

The state is working to alleviate slow travel speeds, which includes allowing shoulder driving during peak periods and rebuilding at least one busy interchange.

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Don’t expect lawmakers to end I-405 tolling yet