Congestion pricing has long been one of my pet subjects: with it we can simultaneous reduce wasted time for drivers and riders and raise much needed revenue for transportation projects. Win-win, really. The Evergreen Point Floating bridge is one of the most congested roads in the state, and also needs to be replaced soon. A new state study shows that congestion pricing works for this project:
Traffic next year would drop to 52,000 vehicles per day as drivers divert to Interstate 90, avoid trips or shift to transit, according to an “investment-grade” study by Wilbur Smith Associates, meant to assist in the future sale of construction bonds.
Vehicle trips wouldn’t rebound to the current levels of more than 100,000 a day until the year 2032, the study predicts.
While traffic would move faster, with fewer cars on the road, the state needs a certain level of traffic to generate enough tolls to help pay for a new six-lane bridge.
Despite a traffic drop-off, state Treasurer Jim McIntire is confident that tolling can support at least $1 billion in bonds for the $4.65 billion crossing, as the state Department of Transportation has assumed for years.
Tolls would exceed yearly debt payments by roughly $5 million, according to a new chart issued by McIntire’s office.
I don’t have much to add. Drawn out long enough, the tolls might support more than the $1 billion, and certainly if we were to toll I-90 as well we could raise double that. Of course no one wants to pay tolls, but no one wants to pay for anything. And certainly no one wants to sit in traffic. I wish congestion pricing were more popular.