WSP drops a bomb in House Transportation Committee on Opening Day Legislative Session

In the September 27, 2015, The Everett Herald published an op-ed by Jeff Merrill, President of the Washington State Patrol Association.  In the article, Merrill stated the tolls were “doomed from the start”.  WSP cannot safely enforce the I-405 Express Toll Lane HOV violations.  WSDOT shrugged it off, but 14 months later, the Chief John Batiste of WSP repeated the message the House Transportation Committee that they don’t enforce toll violations. Here is the video clip of the conversation:

You can Click here to watch the entire committee session on the TVW website.  Jump ahead to timestamp 1:19:00 where Committee Chair Judy Clibborn asks the question and where Chief John Batiste responds:

“From  an enforcement standpoint, we are pretty much out of the business when it comes to the tolling situation now and that has been turned over to the DOL’s [Department of Licensing] contractors to be able to help them with that situation.”
–WSP Chief John Batiste

In other words, they rely on citizens reporting violations similar to how HOV is enforced.   In spite of this, in the first annual financial report, WSDOT reported spending $878,597 on Washington State Patrol and in the 9 months after they started issuing citations, $1.5 million was collected in civil penalties, most likely for crossing the double-white lines, although some people have reported getting cited for having their pass in HOV mode when they were not HOV. This is for just 17 miles of a single highway! This is an incredible display of non-compliance. And as my dashcam has recorded, for every 1 person that is cited for it, there are likely hundreds more people doing it. Understand that people don’t set out to intentionally break the law. This is what happens when we make things that don’t make sense.

And one final point:   For out-of-state plates, WSDOT sends a request to the state asking for owner information.  They then use that info and try to bill the owner. Canadians do not get billed for using the HOT lanes. Ever.


Posted in Uncategorized
5 comments on “WSP drops a bomb in House Transportation Committee on Opening Day Legislative Session
  1. Nola Elson says:

    If you are driving north on I-405 and get on from the new overpass at Evergreen Hospital, you enter the freeway in the left land. If you want to get off on 160th street, the next exit on the right… the only way to do this is to cross the double white lines. This is all new construction and they made it illegal. Crazy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nola, that is a great point and fits for my upcoming post that explains all the rules about the ETLs.


  3. transpengr says:

    That amount of fines over 9 months for 17 miles of freeway is astounding to me. It’s as if we have we have found a state level replacement for the war on drugs which was Nixon’s approach to dealing with inner city blacks and resistance to the Viet Nam war. High rates of driver non-compliance are an indication that one’s traffic control devices are an inappropriate application per the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. Of course it doesn’t take a manual to tell one that the operation is a despised form of interference with normal driver behavior and expectations.

    Governmental elitism is alive and well, folks.


  4. Jody (JoAnne) Watson says:

    My husband and I are too old and have too much insurance to bother to learn how to navigate the newly-tolled 405. We just drive it the way we always have.

    But, I’m a little disappointed that I never, ever get a ticket. At present, I’m owed 40-50 citations, conservatively, and that number’s going nowhere but up.

    Who do I have to call to collect my penalties?


  5. Jody, you may be in for sticker-shock. If you have a Washington license plate and if you do not have a FlexPass, then you are being billed the toll plus a $2 pay-by-mail fee each time, even if you are a carpool. They should be mailing you bills. Also, there are late payment penalties and in the end, they can prevent you from renewing your license plates until you pay. I will send you a private message. I want to hear more about your story and maybe put you in touch with a reporter who is getting stories from people like you.


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