See this video from KIRO 7 news where they interview Ed Barry, WSDOT Secretary of Tolling. He is claiming that even though the tolls do not meet the speed requirements of 45mph for 90% of the peak hour, they can keep the tolls due to the wording of the law. The actual text of the law is:
(5) If after two years of operation of the express toll lanes on Interstate 405 performance measures listed in subsection (4)(a) and (e) of this section are not met, the express toll lanes project must be terminated as soon as practicable.
This is the text of the referenced sections:
Subsection (4) The department shall monitor the express toll lanes project and shall annually report to the transportation commission and the legislature on the impacts from the project on the following performance measures:
(a) Whether the express toll lanes maintain speeds of forty-five miles per hour at least ninety percent of the time during peak periods; …
(e) Whether the express toll lanes generated sufficient revenue to pay for all interstate 405 express toll lane-related operating costs
WSDOT is interpreting this to mean as long as at least one of those two conditions are met, the tolls can continue. Clearly that is not the objective and if the conditions were reversed so costs were not met, but traffic went faster, they would be eliminating the tolls. This is an attempt to save face and avoid admitting the tolls don’t work. They further obfuscate the truth by only measuring overall speed from end to end. The speeds for travelers on the north end are in fact, far worse than their numbers suggest because it is averaged in with the speeds in Bellevue. This is why people don’t trust our government. Integrity is absent!
Please take a moment and call Governor Inslee’s office and request that he follow the actions as defined in the law that created the 405ETL and end the express toll lane project. The phone number for Governor Inslee’s office is 360-902-4111.