Commuters heading to the Eastside will be hit with a toll starting next year. The Washington State Department of Transportation sent out this alert:
In the spring of 2011, all-electronic tolling will begin on the SR 520 Bridge to help pay for the construction of a new, safer bridge. Good To Go! electronic tolling uses technology to keep traffic moving with no toll booths, no stopping, and no slowing down.
Good To Go! account customers can set up prepaid accounts linked to a Good To Go! Pass that is installed in your vehicle or linked to your license plate. Automatic replenishment allows you to never have to worry about running low in your account. Simply link a bank account or credit card to the account and your Good To Go! account is automatically replenished when you run low.
Toll rates will be determined this fall by the Washington State Transportation Commission. The Commission is studying two toll rate options: a lower toll rate for vehicles with Good to Go! accounts and a higher rate for vehicles that receive a bill and pay-by-mail. The Commission also will set toll rates that vary by time of day and on weekends to encourage driving during less-congested periods. For example, rates during weekday morning and afternoon peak periods will be higher than during off peak hours and weekends.
The Commission is following a process outlined in the Washington Administrative Code that will include public hearings this fall that will be well-publicized in advance. Final toll rate decisions are expected to be made by early next year. You can review Commission meeting agendas and minutes, as well as submit your comments about toll rates, at www.wstc.wa.gov .
Starting in early October and continuing next year, Metro and Sound Transit will be adding nearly 130 bus trips a day across the SR 520 bridge. These service enhancements, along with park-and-ride and bus stop improvements, will give drivers an alternative to paying tolls when electronic tolling begins in spring 2011.
Good to Go! passes will be available in mid-January 2011.
More information on the 520 project and tolling can be found here. You can sign up for Good to Go! information and other incentives here.