One year ago, I blogged that WSTC voted to eliminate the tolls on I-405 at night and on weekends. This ended the congestion and gridlock that was being experienced at random times that never had a problem before. It could be 9:00 PM on a Wednesday evening or 10:00 AM Sunday morning and traffic would look like Tuesday at peak in both directions.
WSDOT was also given some very specific instructions which they seem to have forgotten about some of them. They are to give a quarterly report. For some reason they have never reported the safety record of the freeway since their first quarterly report when collisions were up 55%. WSDOT assured the legislators that the collision rate would fall back to pre-tolling levels within a year. I have received the data via a public records request and while the collisions have declined from their peak, they are still well above pre-tolling measurements. But hey, who needs safety when some of us can get to our destination faster, right?
WSDOT was also directed to find a new tolling system operator by Dec 1, 2016. There are no signs of that ever happening. They are 4 months overdue on this.
We also requested that money be identified in the budget to assemble a committee that included public stakeholders to participate in evaluating how the toll lanes are performing. We are repeating this request again along with having a disinterested 3rd party to decide the success based on the criteria put forth by the committee. This year we have had time to actually get huge support from “all four corners of the floor.” (Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate.) If you haven’t already, please contact your 3 legislators again and ask them to support this. By now you should be getting comfortable contacting your legislators and they should be getting to know you. This really makes a difference in impact.
It is looking promising this time. If you would like to help in other ways, please consider donating to the cause.