HEARING TODAY ON BILL TO PROHIBIT BONDING OF TOLLS ON I-405/SR-167 ETLs.
A public hearing is being held today, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 at 4:00 pm on SB 5232. This is a bill sponsored by Senator Curtis King (R, Yakima), Ranking Member of the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill will prevent the Electronic Toll Lanes (ETL) toll revenue from the I-405/SR-167 Corridor from being used to support the sale of bonds on the toll revenue.
ETA Board members testified against this concept in the 2019 Legislative Session when it was proposed; it was eventually adopted by the Legislature in 2019. No bonds have been sold against the ETL revenue to date.
HOW TO TESTIFY
You can register now to remotely testify at the hearing today, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 at 4 pm at:
https://app.leg.wa.gov/CSIRemote/Senate, under the Transportation Committee of the Senate at that date and time for SB 5232.
You can sign up to:
Send in a written comment,
Testify in person or
Let them know you are interested with a “Pro, “Con”, or “Other” designation.
WHY IS ETA IN SUPPORT OF THIS BILL?
ETA supports the finishing of the I-405 Master Plan as approved in 2002 with a Federal USDOT Record of Decision. ETLs were not a part of that approved plan. A single lane HOV lane was.
The 2 lane ETLs have been imposed by the Legislature and implemented by WSDOT from Lynnwood to Bellevue and now are under construction from Bellevue to Renton. If the ETL toll revenue is bonded, congestion on I-405 is guaranteed until the bonds are paid off, as congestion is required for the ETL toll revenue.
The toll revenue from the ETLs and other toll facilities is dramatically down from the pre-COVID period, putting into question the viability of bonding the toll revenue.
WSDOT has now acknowledged that the toll revenue in the ETLs is dependent upon severe congestion in the General Purpose (GP) lanes. With the last 11 months of COVID, the congestion on I-405 has diminished and the toll revenue has dropped dramatically.
ETA supports the congestion relief projects that were to be funded with the bond revenue from the ETLs. They are high priority projects and need to be funded.
Rep. Fey has proposed a new Transportation Funding package which has $26.5 Billion of revenue over 16 years. ETA supports that proposal, and recommends the I-405 capacity projects be funded with the $0.18 gas tax increase plus gas tax indexing to the CPI that is included in that proposal.
PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE SB 5232 hearing today and help support this bill that would enhance the completion of the I-405 Master Plan.
Eastside Transportation Association