How is your Highway 99 toll money spent? A big chunk goes to collecting the tolls

For each dollar motorists pay to drive through the Highway 99 tunnel, a full 30 cents will be spent just to collect the toll.

The state’s overhead costs start with toll gantries, cameras and laser scanners to read the car-mounted Good to Go passes. Another slice of toll income pays the billing contractors to capture vehicle data, recognize license-plate numbers as needed, bill the customers and track the money.

That leaves about $22 million a year, as of 2022, for transportation purposes, chiefly to repay $200 million in construction debt for the tunnel and ramps, plus their daily maintenance and a long-term equipment replacement fund.