State Transportation Commission adopts I-405 express tolls

OLYMPIA — The Washington state Transportation Commission on Wednesday night adopted I-405 toll rates for express toll lanes that will open later this year between Bellevue and Lynnwood.

On Thursday, a Mill Creek state lawmaker objected to some of the changes and said he’s looking into ways to put part of the panel’s decision on hold.

Under the plan, drivers can opt for a faster trip by paying a toll to access express lanes. Rates will vary depending on traffic, and drivers will pay the rate they see upon entering the lanes.

Tolls for those with a Good to Go! account will range from 75 cents to $10. The typical toll likely will range from 75 cents to $4.

Carpools with three or more people will be exempt from paying a toll, as will motorcycles, transit vehicles and vanpools.

Two-person carpools will be exempt from a toll except during weekday peak hours of 5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.

To use the lanes for free, drivers must meet the occupancy requirements, have a Good To Go! account and a Flex Pass.

Drivers without a Good To Go! account can use the lanes and will receive a mailed bill. They will pay $2 more than the posted Good To Go! rate in effect at the time of their trip.

State Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee, blasted the rule change for carpools. He said he’s exploring options the Legislature can take to at least put it on hold.

“This is a terrible idea that will disrupt many people’s commutes and add to congestion on 405,” he said in a statement. “What makes it even worse is this was decided by an unelected commission that is not directly accountable to the people.”

Harmsworth introduced a bill earlier this year that would have required the commission get approval from the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate transportation committees for such a change. The bill did not receive a hearing.

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