I-405 Tolls: Up to 75 percent pays for the tolling system itself, say critics

New capacity and road maintenance is not the goal of the tolls. The real target is those luddites who refuse to comply and will not give up their cars

Most of that money won’t pay for new roads. As much as 75 percent of the collected tolls will merely pay for the tolling system itself. It’s basically a pricing model aimed at modifying congestion
— Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor

I-405 tolls are coming, in no small part because of the support of Kirkland representatives in Olympia. Many see tolling as a the new normal in how to fund transportation projects (or at least how to fund highways) but critics say that up to 75% of the I-405 tolls will pay for the tolling scheme itself, rather than improving highways, or lessening congestion. Most of the money collected in new tolls will not pay for new roads or road maintenance.

"Most of that money won't pay for new roads. As much as 75 percent of the collected tolls will merely pay for the tolling system itself. It's basically a pricing model aimed at modifying congestion," writes Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor. "Critics argue it'll only ease congestion for buses and other modes of mass transit, and that the system is relying on headaches for drivers."

In the article, Klein quotes KIRO Radio's Dori Monson as saying, "This proves that the state of Washington, the Department of Transportation, as well as the private company that's going to be operating this system - they have a financial incentive to create as much gridlock as possible in the three general purpose lanes because that's the only way anybody's going to be willing to pay these outlandish tolls."

Highlights of the new I-405 tolling scheme:

• Good To Go! tolls will cost a minimum of 75 cents to a maximum of $10 per trip. The typical toll is estimated to cost from 75 cents to $4.

• To use the express toll lanes free, drivers must have a Flex Pass, and qualify as a Carpool (see new definition of Carpool below).

• Drivers without a Good To Go! account will be charged $2 above the posted rates. The bill will arrive in the mail. 

• Carpools will be defined as cars with three or more people and will be exempt from paying a toll. Carpools with two people will be exempt during outside of weekday rush hours (5 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.). Motorcycles, transit vehicles, and vanpools will also be exempt from paying tolls.

Transportation issues in our area are always contentious and difficult to solve. The Not So Good To Go solution we have is the handiwork of our own making. We voted for the people who support this tolling scheme. 

For those who like the tolling scheme, this will vindicate their efforts and they will push for more of the same.

For those opposed to the I-405 tolling, I'd like to say you get what you pay for, but it looks like up to 75 cents of every dollar you pay in tolls will go to pay for the tolling scheme itself.

If you thought our representatives were going to use tolls for new roads and maintenance, you'd better look again. Prepare for more gridlock and higher toll fees. 

Have they convinced to you sell your car and ride the bus yet? If not, hunker down. This is only the beginning.