OLYMPIA, Wash. -- With an unanimous vote, the state Transportation Commission voted Tuesday afternoon to partially scrap tolls on 405. The changes begin Friday, March 18.
Tolls will disappear on weeknights, weekends and holidays.
The Washington State Department of Transportation's head of tolling, Patty Rubstello, recommended the changes on the heels of intense public backlash and the governor's push to partially scrap tolls.
There will be no tolls from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday to Friday, no tolls on weekends and no tolls on six government holidays.
“On weekends there was congestion and there wasn’t before so we are tackling that by making this decision today,” Rubstello said.
To prevent confusion, WSDOT says the lanes will be open to all -- drivers do not need a flex pass to use the lanes for free.
“Anybody except for the big trucks will be able to use the express toll during these times,” Rubstello said.
But the decision does not address the congestion during rush-hour traffic. Some lawmakers say they want to see immediate changes to the lanes itself by shrinking the two toll lanes into one. But state Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, says it’s too early for any drastic tweaks.
“Those are too drastic because its takes away the corridor and gives us no potential for the future,” Clibborn said.
But other lawmakers, such as Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek, say it is not too drastic. He told Q13 FOX News on Tuesday he plans to draft legislation for next year. WSDOT says they will collect $2.7 million less annually because of the toll changes.