Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls increase today

Toll rates on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge increase to $4.00 for cash toll payers and $2.75 for electronic toll payers, effective today through June 30, 2009.

The Washington State Transportation Commission approved the toll rate increases at its May 27, 2008 meeting. When the bridge opened last summer, a $3.00 toll rate for all customers was anticipated to begin July 1, 2008. However, both the Citizen Advisory Committee and the Commission want to continue offering a discount for those using the Good To Go! electronic transponders. Given that the state must collect enough toll revenue to meet debt payments related to construction of the bridge, the $1.00 increase over current toll rates was determined necessary to raise sufficient funds, while still maintaining a discount for Good To Go! customers.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, The debt payments are the single-most critical component for setting the toll rate. Approximately 60 percent of each toll collected goes toward debt payment. A total of $14.8 million in bond payments were due in Fiscal Year 2008. Next year, nearly twice as much is due, with $27.2 million in bond payments scheduled for FY 2009. The bond payments were structured to increase over time, with toll rates expected to increase accordingly. Money for bridge construction was borrowed as it was needed, with each subsequent bond scheduled to be repaid during a specific period. Thus, bond payments are lower in the early years, with higher payments due in future years.

The Citizen Advisory Committee and the State Transportation Commission will be reviewing traffic and revenue data on a regular basis to determine the appropriate toll rate for the following year.

More information on tolling for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge can be found at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Operations/Tolling/TNBTolling .