The SR 167 high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane, the P-I reports, is collecting about $25,000 a month from a $1 average toll.  I don’t know how applicable these results are to future congestion pricing projects, but $25K a month doesn’t seem like the big bucks various transportation constituencies have been hoping for.

The article says engineers hope that volume will roughly sextuple in four years, which would start to get us into serious money.

In other news, the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration announced that passing I-985 could threaten millions of dollars of federal funding.  Given that this comes from a Bush administration whose pro-transit record isn’t exactly spotless, it just goes to show how reckless and extreme this initiative is.

The Totem Lake Transit Center opens today.  As some one who used to live near there, I can testify that it’s a traditionally underserved area.  Bravo.

13 Replies to “News Roundup”

  1. It seems weird to have a new transit center, that no Sound Transit buses will ever go into. It’s a 1/4 mile walk to the new HOV REX stops, and another 1/4 mile to the Park and Ride.
    I would have expected 7 million of ST money for the center, and 80 million for the ramps to somehow work together.

  2. The HOT lanes would be utilized more if it went down all the way to the 410 interchange. The minute the HOT lane ends going south, you get a 10 mile long backup from Auburn to Puyallup.

  3. Even though I live in the area and the 236 passes in front of my house, I really don’t see when I would use the transit center except when going to Evergreen Hospital. Back in 2006, Metro had a plan to significantly change service in this area which included ending the 255 at the TC. If they go ahead with that plan, I’ll need to take another bus and transfer there to get to Seattle or take a ST Express to Bellevue instead.

    1. More likely WSDOT is going to install gates that close the ramps during off-peak hours. That was mentioned in the ITE report on I-985. I’ve heard that they might turn the WB 520 HOV lane back into a shoulder or close some HOV lanes in the interest of safety.

      I applaud Ron Sims and Doug MacDonald for coming out against I-985 and standing up for buses but where are John Niles, Mark Baerwaldt, and the other so-called BRT supporters?

      1. Guess what I heard was right.

        According to HorsesAss, a WSDOT official “confirmed off the record that this issue has been studied, and that yes, shutting down the westbound HOV lane would be a likely response to I-985’s passage.”

      2. Why not make it a transit lane? Are transit lanes allowed under Eyman’s ridiculous and stupid plan?

      3. Hay, you may have discovered one of I’m sure many many a loop holes in another poorly written initiative by Eyman. I may have already discovered one, that is this new fund to reduce congestion it makes no mention that the money can not by use for subway. Although defining what is subway may be hard because the university link is a subway, a light rail subway.

      4. Of loopholes, here might be one. The text of I-985 amends RCW 46.61.165
        to restrict the use of HOV lanes but it leaves RCW 47.52.025 untouched. Of course, the amended RCW seems to override that provision.

        The legal definition of a HOV lane is a lane reserved for the “exclusive or preferential use of public transportation vehicles or private motor vehicles carrying no fewer than a specified number of passengers.” A transit or bus only lane might be classified as a “carpool lane.”

        I’m not a lawyer but here is what I think. The initiative is so poorly written and vague that it will invite lawsuits and will be found unconstitutional, one way or another, just like Eyman’s past initiatives. The state and local governments are going to fight this like how they fought previous Eyman initiatives.

  4. And how much did these HOT lanes cost? 19 million? So at this rate it will only take 63 YEARS to payback the initial cost, if you don’t include inflation and other costs. Sheesh

  5. Justin, you can’t look at it that way. It’s an investment in our future. You know… reducing congestion, providing alternatives to being stuck in traffic, etc, etc.
    You wouldn’t divide South Link’s ridership into a couple of billion to figure out the usefulness of light rail, would you?

  6. I’m all for investing in the future, but I prefer my dollars to go toward mass transit, I just don’t agree with the reasons behind HOT lanes.

    It’s one thing to use HOT lanes to fund mass transit but when it’s the other way around it doesn’t make sense. I think if you are a SOV then you SHOULD sit in traffic and stare at that empty lane, it must be the best advertising for the bus and carpooling possible…

    Part of making transit safe it to have all users on it, if only the poor and crazies ride it people will be less apt to use it. I love how in London everyone from all income levels were on the Tube, here that is not usually the case.

  7. HOT lanes: The thing about HOT lanes is that they were sold as being able to pay for themselves, so it’s worth checking whether that proves to be true. So far, it does not.

    That said, I’m still in favor of the HOT idea and congestion pricing in general, though I’d prefer the HOT side to focus on turning general purpose lanes to HOT lanes, not building new HOT lanes.

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