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I-405 express toll lanes become gold mine for the state

(KIRO 7)

The I-405 express toll lanes are making significantly more money than the state expected.

The Seattle Times reports drivers spent $3.7 million between September and the end of 2015. The state initially predicted the tolls would make $1 million.

Tolling director Patty Rubstello told the Times the system is already in the black. The toll lanes offer a faster trip for those willing to pay up to $10 per trip.

Related: Does Lynn Peterson firing signify war in the State Senate?

The unexpected revenue from the tolls might explain the congestion drivers are experiencing in the general purpose lanes. The state recently admitted that traffic on I-405 is worse on the weekends and in the afternoons on the north end of the corridor.

“We recognize we are seeing extra congestion northbound in the Bothell area and we want to see some solutions that could help relieve some of that,” Rubstello told KIRO 7.

The state is considering widening the roadway in the north, enough to allow shoulder driving. Officials are also turning the system off at night and on weekends and holidays.

“The fact that they’re looking at removing the toll for the off hours is right in line with what we’re saying. So that’s good, they’re understanding that,” David Hablewitz with told KIRO 7.

The toll lanes contributed to some lawmakers voting to fire the former secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation. Republican Sen. Andy Hill called the I-405 system “a nightmare.”

“My biggest concern is the implementation (of I-405). It has absolutely been abysmal,” Hill said on Friday. “(WSDOT) thinks everything is going great. And I’m sorry — there is no accountability there.”


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