Both Bridges by Law – Permanently

It used to be that tolls had one purpose, to pay off the debt. Tolls were removed once the debt was paid off. In 2008, Washington State changed the law. HB 1773 authorized tolls to be used for two new purposes, to reduce congestion (ref 1) and to reduce greenhouse gases (ref 2).

HB 1773 authorizes tolls to stay in place permanently after the debt is paid off (ref 3). HB 1773 also requires the I-205 bridge to be tolled if the I-5 bridge is tolled. HB 1773 makes it illegal not to also toll the 205 if the I-5 gets tolled (ref 4). They must both become toll bridges if the I-5 becomes a toll bridge due to the traffic that would be diverted from the I-5 that would increase the congestion on the I-205. The Columbia River Crossing name hides the fact that it includes not just one, but two toll bridges, the I-5 and I-205 bridges.  The tolling scenario has now been expanded to include SR-500, SR-14, and I-84.

HB 1773 Ref:

  1. Section 5, page 4, line 3 – to optimize system performance . reduce congestion (multiple places).
  2. Section 5, page 3, line 32 . greenhouse gas reduction
  3. Section 5, page 4, line 7 . duration of toll collection
  4. Section 5, page 3, line 28 . diversion of traffic to other routes

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