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Q&A: What's This About a Toll on 520?

Bellevue Patch answers some burning questions on this upcoming 520 toll, slated to start in spring.

Here's a quick Q&A on questions about the planned toll for the State Route 520 bridge. We'll update this page as we answer more questions:

What's this about a toll on State Route 520?

The state plans to start a toll in the spring of this year. The Washington State Transportation Commission has already recommended a toll rate schedule that includes a peak-hour base toll of $3.50 each way, but because of voter-approved Initiative 1053, the toll cannot be enacted until the legislature gives a majority approval.

How much is the toll expected to be?

Check out our chart below for information for most cars and motorcycles. The toll schedule includes a $3.50-peak hour toll in both ways, but the toll varies depending on the hour. For the rate schedule for vehicles with three or more axles, download the document attached with this story.

The toll is expected to rise 10 cents a year between 2012 and 2016, so drivers would be paying a peak hour toll of $3.90 by 2016.

Will there be toll booths? How will the state collect the toll? Do I need to buy the pass?

The state does not plan to have staffed toll-booths on the SR-520 bridge. The toll will be collected several ways:

1) Good-to-Go: an electronic payment system that involves setting up an account with the state, purchasing an electronic transponder to install in a vehicle and having the toll deducted from that account whenever the vehicle crosses the 520 bridge. This account can be used to cross other toll bridges, such as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

2) By mail: The state will record license plate numbers of cars they cross the 520 bridge, so anyone who crosses and who has not paid can expect a bill in the mail. The state will take on a $1.50 fee to the base toll. The state has the ability to bill those in other states, because of reciprocal agreements with other states. The owner of the car will have up to 80 days to pay the toll before the state issues a  Notice of Civil Penalty, and the driver may face fines and other fees.

3) Pay by Plate: Motorists may set up a toll account with the state without purchasing a Good-to-Go pass. The state will track these motorists by their license plates as they cross the 520 bridge, and these drivers will have a 25-cent fee tacked on to the base toll rate.

4) Customer-initiated: Motorists can save 50 cents from the Pay by Mail rate by calling, going online, or going to a customer service center to pay the toll within 72 hours of crossing the bridge. There will be signs in the SR 520 corridor alerting drivers on how to Pay By Mail.

Will there be a toll on Interstate 90?

No. This may cause some issues with congestion as people by crossing Lake Washington via I-90.

Why will there be a toll?

The state has a . Improvements include landscaped lids over portions of 520, a wider roadway, increased carpool lanes, a bicycle and pedestrian lane and environmental upgrades.  The state legislature decided that $2.37 billion of the amount will be paid through state and federal funding and tolls. Where the rest comes from has yet to be determined. The entire project is slated to be finished by 2014.

Proposed Toll Rate for 2-axle vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs and motorcycles):

Mondays - Fridays

Good To Go! Pass

Pay By Mail

Play by Plate

Customer- initiated

Midnight to 5 a.m.

 0

 0

0 0

 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.

 $1.60

 $3.10

$1.85
$2.60

 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

 $2.80

 $4.30

$3.05 $3.80

 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

 $3.50

 $5.00

$3.75 $4.50

 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

 $2.80

 $4.30

$3.05 $3.80

 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 $2.25

 $3.75

$2.50 $3.25

 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

 $2.80

 $4.30

$3.05 $3.80

 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

 $3.50

 $5.00

$3.75 $4.50

 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 $2.80

 $4.30

$3.05 $3.80

 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 $2.25

 $3.75

$2.50 $3.25

 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

 $1.60

 $3.10

$1.85 $2.60

11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.

 0

 0

0 0

Saturdays and Sundays  

Good To Go! Pass

Pay By Mail

Play by Plate

Customer- initiated

Midnight to 5 a.m. 

0

0

0 0

5 a.m. to 8 a.m. 

$1.10

$2.60

$1.35 $2.10

8 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

 $1.65

 $3.15

$1.90 $2.65

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

 $2.20

 $3.70

$2.45 $3.20

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

 $1.65

 $3.15

$1.90 $2.65

9 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

 $1.10

 $2.60

$1.35 $2.10

11 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. 

0

0

0

0

 

 

Can I read other stories on this issue on Bellevue Patch?

Here are some of the articles on this subject on Bellevue Patch:

Where can I find out more about Good-to-Go?

The Washington State Department of Transportation has a website with frequently asked questions.

-- Information from Bellevue Patch archives, Washington Department of Transportation, Washington State Transportation Commission

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g February 09, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Will there be a discount for students using the 520 bridge? A lot of UW students use the bridge and this is an additional cost for them.
Madeleine Kaiser March 07, 2011 at 11:51 PM
I have a transponder with an account and funds in Massachusetts? I moved across country to WA and my account now reflects my WA plates and WA address. Can this transponder, which is still attached to my windshield, be used and funding deducted from my East Coast account for the very few times I will use SR 520?

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