Washington State: Shifting goalposts for I-405 tolling

corridor performance analysis study in 2018 found that the 15-mile Interstate 405 tolling segment was performing well financially but failing to maintain a 45-mile-per-hour average speed at least 90 percent of the time during peak hours. Now, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is asking the legislators to amend state law regarding those metrics and create a new, separate account for depositing the toll revenue.

While WSDOT argues that the new language will allow them to adjust performance metrics based on potential new standards from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), critics say the state agency is simply shifting the goalposts for the toll lane performance and potentially setting up the revenue to be used for other purposes.

“I think it sends the message that DOT is more interested in preserving the toll lanes and the money they get from drivers than they are in providing reliable trips to working families,” Washington Policy Center Transportation Director Mariya Frost said.