Because being there is what's most important, WPC's Center for Transportation researches and analyzes the best practices for relieving traffic congestion by recapturing a vision of a system based on freedom of movement.

What's New

Tolls could be added to I-405

February 27, 2010 in In the News
The Herald (Everett)
The Herald (Everett)
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Highway Trust Fund to Shut Down Monday; U.S. DOT to Furlough Workers Tuesday

February 26, 2010 in Blog

Highway Trust Fund to Shut Down Monday; U.S. DOT to Furlough Workers Tuesday 

federal Highway Trust Fund will shut down first thing Monday,
suspending all payments to state transportation departments, and four
U.S. Department of Transportation agencies are expected to furlough
employees beginning Tuesday after Congress was unable to reach an
agreement this week on legislation to extend surface transportation
authorization past its Sunday expiration date.

Larry Ehl, Washington State DOT's own federal liaison has more here and here.

House passes bill to toll I-405

February 26, 2010 in Blog

The state House just passed SHB 2941, which would toll I-405 between Bellevue and Lynnwood. The WSDOT estimates the average toll would be about $4 each way.

WPC completed an analysis on the bill: Tolling I-405 Needs a Closer Look
Here are the key findings:

• Defers some major policy decisions to the Executive Branch
• Fails to adequately compare tolled alternative to a no-build option or to the adopted
Master Plan for I-405
• Underestimates performance of general purpose lanes
• Likely increases traffic congestion in the non-tolled lanes
• Appears to allow toll revenue collected from drivers to be used for public transit
• Overestimates toll revenue bec!
ause of the state law to reduce how much people drive
• Jeopardizes the state’s ability to bond against toll revenue because of state law to reduce
how much people drive

There were three amendments proposed and all three were rejected. The amendments would have:

1. Allowed HOV 2+ to use the toll lanes without having to pay the toll. Currently the bill only allows HOV3+ to use the proposed toll lanes without paying the toll
2. Protected toll revenue to be used subject to the 18th Amendment
3. Prevented the conversion of general purpose lanes to toll lanes

The vote was largely along party lines (56 to 40), with four democrats crossing over to oppose it.

House passes bill OK’ing HOT lanes on I-405 between Lynnwood and Bellevue

February 26, 2010 in In the News
Bellingham Herald
Bellingham Herald
Friday, February 26, 2010

Local transit gets 60% of money but serves less than 3% of all trips

February 24, 2010 in Blog

In a new WPC study released today, we find that transit agencies in the Puget Sound region collect two-thirds of all transportation taxes and fees but only serve less than 3 percent of all trips.

Key Observations

Traffic congestion on highways around Seattle ranked 9th worst in the country

February 23, 2010 in Blog

In its annual scorecard, INRIX ranks highways around the Seattle region with the 9th worst traffic congestion in the country (same rank as the previous year). 

Tolling Interstate 405 Needs a Closer Look: Converting general purpose lanes to toll lanes would improve travel time for payers but reduce service levels for everyone else

February 21, 2010 in Publications

House Bill 2941 was proposed during the current Legislative Session. The bill would authorize the use of express toll lanes on Interstate 405 (I-405).1 The bill is vague and presumably relies on a study that does not adequately compare toll lanes to a no-build option. The legislature should request a full and complete comparison to a no-build option before authorizing the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to build express toll lanes on I-405.

How Public Officials Spend Our Transportation Taxes: Distribution of Road and Transit Taxes Collected in the Central Puget Sound Region

February 21, 2010 in Publications

Have you ever wondered how much of your transportation tax money pays for that Metro bus you always see on the road? Or how much of it funds light rail as opposed to roads and bridges? New research by transportation expert James W. MacIsaac, P.E. shows that if you live in the Puget Sound region, you might be surprised just how officials spend your hard earned money.

As lawmakers prepare to expand tolling and make it easier for transit agencies to raise their own taxes, it is important to understand how current revenues are distributed.

Letter to the Editor: Laird’s light-rail column was off base

February 14, 2010 in In the News
The Columbian (Vancouver)
The Columbian (Vancouver)
Sunday, February 14, 2010