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Toll Rate Setting

Toll rate increases are necessary to ensure toll revenues cover debt payments and costs related to maintenance, preservation and operations of our tolled roads and bridges. Each tolled facility has a finance plan that considers these costs as well as inflation. The Washington State Transportation Commission works with WSDOT and the public to establish toll rates for all highways and bridges in Washington state. The commission reviews traffic and revenue each year to determine whether new toll rates are needed to cover operational costs and debt payments. This review process starts in the fall and, if new rates are adopted, they are in effect the following July.

Can the public provide input to the toll rate setting process?

Yes, the commission hosts public input meetings during the toll rate setting process as well as a final hearing prior to adopting toll rate changes. These meetings are open to the public and include a public comment period. You can also submit written comments to the commission.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge             

The commission is required to set toll rates at the lowest amount that is sufficient to pay the debt for the bridge, as well as to pay costs for bridge maintenance, preservation and operations. They must also take into account the recommendation from the governor-appointed Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee.

What are the toll rates as of July 1, 2016?
  • $5 for Good To Go! pass
  • $6 for cash or credit payments at the toll booths 
  • $7 for Pay By Mail customers
  • Drivers still get a discount by having a Good To Go! account. Pass holders still pay the lowest toll rate on the bridge.
Why is a toll increase not needed in 2016?
  • A $2.5 million appropriation from the Legislature, and higher than forecasted bridge traffic, allows current toll levels to remain in place to meet debt obligations.
What do tolls pay for?
  • Tolls collected are used for TNB improvements, operations and maintenance.

SR 520 Floating Bridge           

The commission considers toll rates that help maintain travel time, speed, and reliability on the corridor. They set and adjust toll rates to generate sufficient revenue to cover costs and debt repayment, and to keep up with future general inflation.

What are the new toll rates as of July 1, 2016?
  • Toll rates will increase approximately 5 percent and continue to vary by time of day.
  • The peak Good To Go! pass rate of $3.90 will increase to $4.10.
  • The peak Pay By Mail rate of $5.55 will increase to $6.10.
  • The Pay By Mail toll fee for vehicles without a Good To Go! account will increase to $2, to align with the I-405 express toll lanes and Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
  • Drivers still get a discount by having a Good To Go! account. Pass holders still pay the lowest toll rate on the bridge.
Why is a toll rate increase needed?
  • The new SR 520 bridge is required to generate $1.2 billion in toll revenue to cover a portion of the structure’s cost. Though long-term financial planning originally called for an approximate 15 percent increase in toll rates in 2016, the commission, in cooperation with WSDOT leadership, determined that a much more modest increase would be sufficient to meet financial requirements.

    The commission placed a high priority on keeping the toll rates as low as possible, for as long as possible, given expected construction disruptions on the west side of the bridge in the coming years as WSDOT works to deliver improvement projects between the bridge and I-5.
Are you increasing rates because tolls aren’t generating as much revenue as originally anticipated?
  • No, traffic and revenue are continuing to meet expectations.
  • The rate increases are based on traffic forecasts as well as inflation. They are still needed to keep us on track with our finance plan to raise $1.2 billion for a new SR 520 bridge.
What do SR 520 tolls pay for?
  • Tolls collected are used for SR 520 improvements, operations and maintenance.
Will there be more rate increases after 2016?
  • The commission’s SR 520 toll rate proposal is as follows:
    • Weekday and weekend toll rates would increase another 5 percent on July 1, 2017.
    • Nighttime tolling (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) would begin on July 1, 2017, at a flat rate of $1.25.
  • While the WSTC is proposing rate changes for two years, it will assess traffic performance and revenue collections in early 2017, before the second increase goes into effect on July 1, 2017, to ensure it is both needed and sufficient.