Paying the piper: One-year anniversary of 520 tolling

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CRSEATTLE — After one year of tolls across the 520 Bridge, Washington state is declaring success.

“We’re very pleased,” said Craig Stone of WSDOT.  “It’s been a great program.”

Tolls are on track to generate over $1 billion towards the $4 billion 520 project.  And while drivers may not love them, the state says the resistance is less than expected.

“Over time traffic has returned to the 520 corridor,” Stone said.  “We are running at 70 percent of the traffic volumes that we had before.”

Seventy percent is a big improvement over the initial sticker shock to the tolls, when one out of every two cars avoided the bridge to save money. Now, that the early traffic diversion has settled down, the state has new figures about how other routes have been affected.  State Route 522, around the north end of the lake, has nine percent more cars than before. Interstate 90 has 11 percent more.

“Traffic has worked better than our forecasts,” said Stone.

The state legislature will be looking at I-90 in the coming months. Tolls on that span, which could come by 2015, would help meet the $1.4 billion funding gap that still exists for the 520 project.

“When you start looking at an across lake trip,” said Stone, “both bridges work in tandem with each other.”

After some early billing glitches, the state now says 94% of drivers pay their bills on time.  But nearly 10,000 car owners are in for a surprise.  They still owe money, and January will be the first month that state will hold up their vehicle tab renewals until they pay up.

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  • Ben


    Why are you so excited about new taxes? Isn't it bad enough that we have the 8th highest gas tax in the nation and yet have the dubious distinction of the worst roads in the west?

    Tolling Interstate 90 equates to taxation without representation. Historically, that is something citizens of this United States have come to appreciate as an innate value.

    520 is the project. The existing toll structure will pay for the project. The state has no authority to collect tolls in Spokane for a bridge in Seattle. Similarly, I 90 cannot legally be tolled for improvement made to 520.

  • Kevin

    Has anyone looked at their Good-2-Go accounts online? I checked back in March and the state charged me $3.50 at $0.25 intervals for "Photo Enforced Associated Fee". I went into one of their offices at the time and they told me this occurs if I have a G2G account with no sticker. I have a sticker! They verified the sticker was walking but replaced it anyway. I just checked again today and another $15.55 in these "Photo" charges are showing up so I'm going in again. It's clear my sticker works because according to my account transactions the equipment scans the sticker most of the time. However, sometimes it doesn't work so I get these charges. WHAT A GREAT RACKET THE DOT HAS GOING ON HERE!!!! So I'm going in again today to get a refund.

    I highly recommend that if you have a sticker, go into your G2G account and look at your history. If you see "Photo Enforced Associated Fee" entries, it means that their equipment hanging over the bridge is not scanning your sticker and they're photographing your license. You shouldn't have to pay these charges!

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  • Victor C.

    Writing about the photo enforced fee. I have an account since the inception of the toll at 520 in 2012 added my wife’s car and mine activated the stickers set up an automated reload from my credit card so I don’t have to think about when I go across. I use to look at my account on a regular basis I never saw a photo enforced fee well several months ago I updated my credit card info. and came to find out that I have been charged this fee since 2013 due to sticker failure try to contact G2GO they are not the most prompt responders, anyway G2GO never let me know about this defective sticker but yet they are charging me with out my knowledge also since about 2015 my wife’s car sticker doesn’t work either yet they did not contacted me. I went to their office and bought a new sticker activated it and they agree to refund the photo enforced fee I walked out of there feeling ok later to find out they would only refund me up to a year worth of fees. P.S is now 2017 and I know is now a lot of money but I can’t help but to feel robbed.

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