Last week we heard that Washington lawmakers were more than happy to change the I-405 toll lane rules to make non-commute hours free. Part of that reasoning must be the fact that the lanes have generated more than three times the expected amount in their first three months of existence.
According to state tolling director Patty Rubstello, tolls were forecasted to generate $1 million by now but have generated $3.7 million between the Sept. 27 grand opening and the end of December. Roughly 50,000 vehicles per weekday are said to have used the lanes, which would often spike to $9 or $10 due to overwhelming demand in the face of traffic jams. The law states that all proceeds raised must be reinvested in I-405, so now comes the discussion about what to do with this ongoing windfall. One option is to retrofit the northbound shoulder from Bothell to Lynnwood and turn it into a general lane to ease congestion, which would cost $30-50 million. The much bigger option would be to begin
the process of adding a second toll lane each way as well as new Bothell-area ramps, which would require up to $570 million.
· $3.7 million in 3 months: I-405 tolls rake in more than 3 times expected income [ST]
· I-405 express toll lanes become gold mine for the state [MyN]