Tolls on the Interstate 90 floating bridge won’t happen until at least late 2015, but tolls on the State Route 520 bridge are going up again.
The SR 520 tolls will go up 2.5 percent on July 1, which was expected according to Reema Griffith, Executive Director of the Washington State Transportation Commission. Griffith says the commission has permission to raise the tolls that much every year, but they won’t go up higher than that this year.
Weekday tolls currently run between $1.70 and $3.70, depending on time of day, for drivers with a Good to Go! pass. For drivers who mail in their tolls, it's between $3.25 and $5.25.
Legislators, the state transportation department and the state treasurer are looking at other ways to pay for the $170 million shortfall due to pontoon construction issues.
While the state continues to look at I-90 tolling, nothing will happen for at least a year-and-a-half. The state is conducting an environmental impact study on the effect tolling would have as well as getting more public comment. Also, state lawmakers and the federal government would need to approve the tolls.
Mercer Island residents would be the most affected by I-90 tolls. While other drivers could avoid the tolls by driving around Lake Washington, Mercer Island residents can’t get off the island without taking I-90.
When the new SR 99 tunnel in Seattle is completed, Griffith said tolling there will likely be 24-hours a day with $1.25 tolls at peak times and $1 the rest of the day, but that’s not set in stone.
The tunnel project is on hold because of damage to the boring machine, Bertha. It’s not expected to resume tunneling until at least September.