Drivers to pay Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls longer than expected to cover construction cost

March 15, 20240

The bridge is expected to be paid off by 2033.

By Lionel Donovan (KING5 News)

TACOMA, Wash. — A pandemic and a fire almost proved too much for Gig Harbor Strength and Fitness, but the gym managed to survive.

“We had to rebuild literally from the ashes, so to speak,” says the gym’s owner, Coach Dimitri Mlknyk. “And we’re still here.”

But that recovery wasn’t easy, especially with a toll booth right outside.

“It’s just a barrier, I think, for business,” Melnyk remarked.

Now, the state says the toll booths will be in operation a little longer.

The state sold bonds worth $681 million to build the bridge’s eastbound lanes, which were completed in 2007. The Washington State Transportation Commission says there’s more than $586 million left to pay those bonds back. The WSTC predicts that it will be paid off by 2030’s fiscal year, but that won’t be the end of paying to cross the Tacoma Narrows.

“$57.6 million in sales tax was deferred to after those bond payments,” says financial analyst Aaron Halbert. “We’ll tackle those deferred tax sales payments in fiscal year 2031.”

Halbert also says another two years are needed to pay back a loan from the state, meaning the bridge won’t be fully paid off until 2033.

Now, Melnyk and other nearby businesses will have to find the strength to endure as clients decide whether they can withstand the tolls’ weight.

“I think that’s hindering dozens of businesses, not just us, in the long run, because people won’t come over here,” he says. “People are always watching how much money goes out the door every month, and a gym membership, if you use it on average three times a week, you’re looking at twelve tolls a month, that’s $72. So it’s not like it’s a cheap thing. Plus, on top of the gas and membership, I mean, it’s turned into a $200 investment, almost.”


John Ley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2023 All Rights Reserved