Here is a list of the I-405 toll items that were included in the Transportation Budget by the Washington State Legislature today:
- Funding to identify and prioritize projects that will help reduce congestion and provide added capacity on the I-405 corridor between SR 522 and I-5.
- Invests money earned through I-405 tolling into projects aimed at reducing congestion in the corridor, including:
- $15 million for Northbound Auxiliary Lane – SR 522 to NE 70th Pl (2017-19 and 2019-21)
- $30 million for Northbound Hard Shoulder Running – SR 527 to I-5 (2017-19 and 2019-21).
- Directs WSDOT to report quarterly on the performance measures required in statute.
- Includes reporting requirements on both general purpose and express toll lanes as well as reporting requirements for choke points on specific sections of the corridor in addition to the full corridor.
- Directs WSDOT to make operational and customer services improvements, within existing resources to enhance the public’s use of the facility.
- Directs the Transportation Commission to use its emergency rule-making authority to effect changes to improve operations of the I-405 Express Toll Lanes with the goals of reducing travel time and the cost of travel.
- These improvement include the consideration of eliminate tolling during evening nonpeak hours, weekends and holidays and requiring the Transportation Commission, in consultation with WSDOT, to evaluate the hours and days of toll operations and the minimum high occupancy vehicle passenger requirements.
- Directs WSDOT to conduct a search for a new tolling customer service toll collection system by December 1, 2016. The budget further directs WSDOT to submit a draft project management plan to OFM and OCIO prior to implementing the new system.
The measures listed above are a step in the right direction in fixing things like eliminating tolls at night, weekends, and holidays; the merge from 520 onto 405 northbound; and getting an additional lane added from SR522 to I-5. Next week the Transportation Commission (WSTC) is going to be meeting to begin the process of changing the hours of operation for the toll so that it will be free and open to all at night, on weekends and holidays.
Stop405tolls.org is still working hard to get them to recognize the tolls need to go away completely as well as the double-white lines. Unfortunately, this budget also includes setting up tolling on the rest of I-405 from Bellevue to SR167. We need to stop this before they create more problems with an expensive toll system rather than putting the money into legitimate improvements. For that matter, there should be no more building of toll facilities until they prove the existing toll works. In fact, they are a total failure. Adding a toll does nothing to reduce congestion and is an incredibly wasteful, expensive method for collecting revenue.