We Need Higher Tolls on the Tunnel



You’re wrong.

When utilizing human knowledge rather than emotion, the fact that there are more people paying the toll than was anticipated means they can reduce the rate.

Are there any studies comparing the number of people who say they will stop using transit if the toll becomes unmanageable to the majority who would just drive around, increasing standing traffic?


Correction, start using transit.


The tunnel annoys our hypersensitive climate no more than the viaduct did, perhaps even less so.


@4 Love the tunnel too. Amazing piece of engineering that helps make Seattle better. Plus at night you can easily hit 80mph in it! Northside to south side and visa versa in a minute or so.


How many climate-destroying pieces of equipment are required distributing tree-harvested Strangers across the city?


You write, "Sound Transit will collect over $7 billion in fares in 2019" but what you linked to indicates total fare revenue collected by ST is $100 million (page 25 of the pdf). Quite a difference.


Cars idling on surface streets are much more harmful to the environment than cars zipping thru the tunnel. Get a brain moran!


A better plan would be to just put transit in the tunnel and make transit free.

You already are creating massive emissions from the construction, and some is from the continuing operation, but about 90 percent was just the construction itself.

Use it better.


They absolutely should consider raising the tolls but I don't think any hand wringing over the process is necessary. In a few months to a year we should have a good idea of how tolling is affecting current traffic volumes. Then we can start modifying the toll to bring it up to market value.


I have no problem raising the tolls a little. It'll be like the 520 in the morning, nothing but esters, BMWs, Audis and Volvos zipping along to high paying jobs.


@7 The tolls are expected to pay off $400 million in bonds but have been set too low to achieve that goal in a reasonable timeline. They should either be set the way the Narrows bridge tolls are, at a rate sufficient to pay off the bonds as they come due, or the way the HOT lane tolls are, at a rate designed to keep traffic moving at a specific speed.


The toll on the tunnel will never go away, even after it's paid for. It's there forever and they have said so.

The tunnel's original environmental impact statement, the on time and on budget one, said the carbon footprint of construction was equivalent to 20 Years vehicle use. Now your complaining?


I suppose one can only wonder what the total carbon footprint Sound Transit construction will create when it's finished in 30 years and how it compares to the limited number of cars it admittedly takes off the roads.


@19 since most ST bus and rail is about 1/20th the impact per person as a single car driver, they're fine.

Cars == Death


@20, Well, Sound Transit has said it will only take 5% or less cars off the road when it's finished but the construction carbon footprint will be multiple times (years) what is supposed to eliminate.
1/20th of the impact is great! Light rail is still only about 9% of people moving around the city.

In 30 years what do you think the personal vehicle carbon footprint will be?


A perfect example of the "let's make traffic worse to make it better" theory.

Once I realized that the guiding philosophy behind all the road diets and bike lanes with nobody in them and congestion pricing etc etc etc was to deliberately make traffic worse so that voters would, at some indeterminate point in the future, be forced to engage in long-term planning in order to alleviate it, it stopped being cute.

First of all, this is exactly the opposite of how voters have been shown to behave -- as they become more frustrated with their elected officials' ability to alleviate problems, they vote for anti-government candidates who promise to reduce taxes, or citizen's initiatives that promise to Starve the Beast.

Second of all, it just exacerbates the perception of Progressives as spiteful, condescending, know-it-alls who think that they are making the world better by making your day worse. It is this perception, far more than actual policy positions, that is the reason progressivism has performed so poorly at the polls of late.


Set up toll booths on all the roads coming to and leaving Downtown Seattle for 3 months and see what happens.

I bet I can guess.


@13, the only way putting transit in the tunnel makes sense is if there are express routes which go from far north of downtown to far south of downtown, and vice-versa, but make no stops in downtown itself. Which there aren't, because it's stupid to do that.


Is Lester trolling us, or is he serious with his continuing campaign of anti-mobility bullshit? Either way, I'm going to do myself a favor and never click on another of his articles. I suggest you do the same.


If tolling has not reduced usage as much as predicted, then raise the tolls to produce the predicted reduction. That would help pay for the tunnel, which has been dumped on the backs of other statewide taxpayers.

But $15 is ridiculous. It would become the Lexus Lane of all Lexus Lanes; the only users would be buses who go free and heavy trucks which can certainly afford the toll. And a few Lexus drivers.


@24, there is some talk of a version of the C Line which goes directly to SLU during the peak hours. It might be copied from Burien as well. Those would be useful commuter routes.