LETTER | SR 520 Toll Increases Already

 

Dear Readers of Kirkland Views,

And now the other shoe drops, how many folks knew that toll increases were scheduled to pay for the bonds? This just in from WSDOT email updates…Notice the uncertain increase in 2016 dependent upon traffic, cute little 2.5% rate increases for 4 years then a balloon payment in 2016 of 15%. Considering the inaccuracy of a government forecast of revenue these days, we can expect their “anticipated revenue” will come up short again as a surprising number of folks choose to drive around or skip going altogether. Baby-boomers are retiring, and 8 to 5 jobs are flexing, and work-from-home is happening more and more. But people in a hurry and people rich enough to drive an uncrowded bridge at any price will continue to use this short bit of not-so-free bridge in our otherwise freeway state. Good thing folks in Kirkland are rich and have a city council that doesn’t kick about these things.

Margaret Wiggins Finn Hill, Kirkland

From WSDOT:

SR 520 Bridge new rates Tolls on the SR 520 bridge will increase 2.5 percent. The current peak Good To Go! rate of $3.50 will increase to $3.59, and the peak Pay By Mail rate of $5 will rise to $5.13. The toll increase affects all rate levels. Toll rates for the SR 520 bridge vary by time of day based on toll-rate schedules posted online.

This is the first of four 2.5 annual rate increases for SR 520 planned through 2015. Dependent on future traffic usage, the financial plan calls for a 15 percent increase in 2016. These incremental toll increases are needed to support our financial plan to make debt payments on the bonds that are financing current SR 520 program construction.