SR 520 tolling is part of the Lake Washington Urban Partnership, a collaborative effort between WSDOT, King County, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to explore innovative ways to help manage congestion on the SR 520 corridor.
Tolls also help build a new, safer SR 520 bridge. Tolling on SR 520 is expected to raise $1.1 billion overall toward the $4.65 billion SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program.
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Benefits of all-electronic tolling
- Eliminates congestion caused by traditional toll booths - traffic keeps moving.
- Increases safety - removes safety issues associated with traditional toll booths.
- Decreases costs - handling cash is expensive, costing twice as much as electronic toll collection.
- Decreases project costs - land for toll booths can be very expensive.
- One Good To Go! account can be used across the state on all tolled bridges and roads.
Why toll the SR 520 bridge?
In May 2009, Gov. Gregoire signed ESHB 2211 (pdf 50 KB), which authorized tolling on the SR 520 bridge. Tolling the SR 520 bridge allows WSDOT to secure revenue in order to begin pontoon construction in 2011, which is critical to replacing the SR 520 bridge by 2014.
Tolls on SR 520 helps pay for the new SR 520 bridge scheduled to open in 2014. When the corridor is complete, it will include six lanes, with two general-purpose lanes and one carpool lane in each direction, spanning Lake Washington from I-5 in Seattle to just west of I-405 in Bellevue. Designed to withstand earthquakes and windstorms the new SR 520 will have carpool lanes and increased transit service that will make bus trips more frequent and reliable. It also will have space for walking or riding a bike across the lake, shoulder lanes to keep traffic flowing when something goes wrong, and new interchanges to reduce traffic impacts and improve communities near the corridor.
Previous tolling legislation includes House Bill 1773, which set statewide guidelines for the implementation and use of tolls on state highways, and House Bill 3096, which created a Tolling Implementation Committee to work with the public to evaluate a variety of tolling scenarios.
The Tolling Implementation Committee evaluated tolling for financing the SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program, engaged citizens and regional leadership in the evaluation, and enhanced understanding of tolling alternatives. The committee hosted a series of public outreach events and input opportunities related to tolling in the SR 520 corridor during summer 2008, and reported to the Governor and Legislature in January 2009.