Building a new 520 could cost between $3.7 and $3.9 billion. Nearly $2 billion in state and federal contributions have already been secured. Tolls can close the funding gap, but the exact toll rates will depend on how tolling is implemented.
Current funding comes from a variety of state and federal sources:
|State Gas Tax||$554 million|
|State Risk Pool||$1,072 million|
|Federal Bridge Funds||$114 million|
|State Sales Tax Deferral||$180 million|
How far tolling will go to close the funding gap depends on the answers to a number of questions. For example, should revenue only be used to pay for a new 520 crossing or should it pay for more transit service across the lake as well? What portion of 520 should be tolled? Should drivers who cross the bridge be charged or should drivers pay anytime they use 520 even if they’re not crossing the lake? How will tolling 520 affect commutes on I-90?
The 520 Tolling Implementation Committee is seeking your input on these and other questions.
There was a time when the federal government paid for the lion’s share of our large transportation projects. Dwindling revenue from the federal gas tax means those days are gone. Meanwhile, aging infrastructure around the country means the need for funds is greater than what’s available and there’s stiff competition for federal dollars.
Here in Washington State, the legislature has raised the gas tax twice in recent years to provide funding for new roads, safer bridges, and freight corridors. More than half of the $2 billion in already secured funding for the new 520 bridge is coming from the state gas tax. The legislature expects that the Puget Sound region's residents will contribute the remaining funding, likely through tolls. To date, the state legislature has anticipated $1.5-$2 billion may come from toll revenue.