Two of Washington State’s busiest and biggest highways that have express toll lanes are expected to have price increases for the maximum price of the toll. Interstate 405 and Highway 167 will likely now have a maximum price of $12 or $15 by the early months of 2024. State transportation commissioners are working on finalizing details, which is why the final maximum price point is still unknown at this time.
These toll roads are expressways, meaning they are connected to the regular, free highway but people can pay the toll and enter these lanes to then have a less congested, faster route.
However, with the rates the tolls are currently at, the lanes are still getting congested, leading to people paying for the feature uselessly. According to toll road defining legislature, there is a mandate for vehicles to be flowing at a speed of at least 45 miles per hour for at least 90% of the peak hours. The congestion of the tolls has led to the speed not meeting this mandate. This issue has led to the transportation commission’s decision to raise the prices, as that is the only resolution, they can find to combat the problem.
The Commission has not formally passed any decisions with regard to the price hike yet. Thus far, they have only voted unanimously to open the floor for this issue to the public. They plan to then hold a vote regarding the toll rates in January of 2024. Depending on the result of the vote, the price change could be expected to take place around February and March.
The public’s opinion of this issue will be interesting, as many are against the toll roads themselves. In 2016, there was a “No Tolls on 405” petition going around that received more than 30,000 signatures. The state did not remove the lanes, however, they added lane space in some areas of the I-405 in the general highway lanes and have not touched the tolls’ prices since the petition.
The highest rate of the toll roads presently is $10.
The Deputy Director of the Commission does not think a price increase to $12 would make much difference to the way the roads are at the moment. He does think an increase to $15 would be able to make some difference but thinks overall there are larger issues that need to be addressed or the price needs to undergo a significant price change.