Report on Highway 99 Tunnel gets into ignition

February 26, 2014 by  

Although the Highway 99 Tunnel project is on hold due to equipment trouble, Bellevue residents will be interested to know that the question of tolls is being addressed.

Earlier this month, an advisory committee turned in a report with the recommendation that basic toll rates should be $1, with an additional 25 cents added during peak times. Moreover, the committee suggested a rate increase of 1.3% each year.

The challenge faced with determining toll rates is to maximize revenue without making the tolls so high as to discourage drivers from using the tunnel. Estimates, culled from 2017 traffic projections, predict that the recommended tolls will divert about 20% of vehicles during peak times and 38% during off-peak times to avoid the toll. In addition to lost revenue, tolls that are too high could create congestion with traffic being diverted to downtown Seattle.

Other recommendations deal with tolls rates for trucks. The suggested toll per medium truck is $3.13 for peak hours and $2.50 during non-peak times. For large trucks, according to Crosscut.com, the tolls are recommended to be $3.50 for peak times with an increased rate for off-peak hours to $4.38.

When the time comes, engaging brochure printers could eliminate any confusion over the toll rates, what determines whether a truck is medium or large, and what the peak hours are.

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