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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 new toll rates as of July 1, 2015?
  • $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 needed?
  • The Tacoma Narrows Bridge finance plan outlines an escalating debt structure, minimizing the initial impact on bridge users.
  • Debt payments rise over time, requiring additional toll revenue.
  • Toll rate increases are part of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge  finance plan.
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, 2015?
  • Toll rates increased approximately 2.5 percent and continue to vary by time of day.
  • The peak Good To Go! pass rate of $3.80 increased to $3.90.
  • The peak Pay By Mail rate of $5.40 increased to $5.55.
  • 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 toll rate increase supports the finance plan for SR 520 which has incremental steps for the first five years, then has flat debt into the future after the new bridge is open.
  • The incremental steps include four annual 2.5 percent rate increases planned through 2015 and a more significant increase in 2016.
Why is a more significant rate increase expected in 2016?
  • During the initial rate setting process, the commission chose to include a more significant increase in weekday toll rates in 2016 rather than start with a higher initial toll rate.
Are you increasing rates because tolls aren’t generating as much revenue as originally anticipated?
  • No, the 2015 increase was the fourth of four annual 2.5 percent rate increases to keep pace with general inflation rates.
  • Traffic and revenue are continuing to meet expectations.
  • The scheduled 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?
  • After 2016 any toll increases would be determined by the commission, which annually reviews traffic and revenue to determine toll rates.