FOLLOWUP: Here’s which Highway 99 tunnel-toll increase is moving forward

Earlier this summer, the Washington State Transportation Commission – which sets toll rates, among other things – asked for comment on two potential ways to raise Highway 99 tunnel tolls this fall. The extra increase is needed to bring in enough money to meet goals set by the state Legislature. Today, the WSTC unanimously voted to support the option that would raise all tunnel toll rates 15 percent as of October 1st. And the 3 percent increase already planned for next year is still going forward, too.

But after that, the WSTC says, unless there’s some other unforeseen problem putting a big dent in usage, rates should be able to stay the same until at least fiscal year 2026. Next steps for the proposed 15 percent increase – more public comment, then a public hearing and vote in late August, and the increase would take effect October 1st.

P.S. As for the previous round of public input, most opposed both options (see page 10 and 11 here).

13 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's which Highway 99 tunnel-toll increase is moving forward"

  • Brian July 20, 2021 (1:07 pm)

    It’s cool how civic access projects have funding goals to hit even after they’re built and in use. Did I say cool? Because I meant awful. 

  • Jeepney July 20, 2021 (1:37 pm)

    I am ok with raising the toll, I believe when the tunnel was opened it was communicated that the tolls would be going up after awhile.  While it is very easy to complain about our transportation infrastructure, I really think WSDOT got it right on the tunnel and adjoining roads.  I do not miss the viaduct at all.

  • KellyM July 20, 2021 (2:39 pm)

    I wonder if the current tolls are having a negative impact on usage with people avoiding the tunnel, will the increase accordingly have a more negative impact?  

    • reed July 20, 2021 (3:57 pm)

      I don’t give a millisecond of thought to the toll when I go through the tunnel, and will continue the same when they increase.

      • The King July 20, 2021 (4:15 pm)

        While your story is heartwarming, what about those who are barely getting by? There’s always a lot of ‘livable wage’ posturing going on in this region yet a tax comes along and it’s ‘I’ll pay that in a minute’…..the signals are mixed. 

        • Spooled July 20, 2021 (4:56 pm)

          Nobody is owed anything.  The toll is going up.  Public input was solicited on how it was to do so.  Pay or find an alternate route.Yes, it sucks that things are getting really expensive in this city.  I hate it too and see ever decreasing value in the increasing cost of living here.  However, if/when I reach the breaking point, I will deal with it on my own.  I won’t go stomping around carrying on about how I should get a break or move myself into the Starbucks parking lot to become a burden on everyone.If your local grocer had a collection box at the door that said “help us offset shoplifting!  They couldn’t afford to buy.” would you give or shop somewhere else?  That’s what Washington, King County, and especially Seattle feel like the last decade.  Nuts.

        • bill July 20, 2021 (5:09 pm)

          I am sure even poor people can work out whether it costs less to use the tunnel or spend gas and time taking longer “free” routes.

        • wscommuter July 21, 2021 (9:46 am)

          Tolling is the unavoidable consequence of living in a state where we lack the political will to raise revenue through an income tax.  So instead we use sales taxes (specifically gas taxes) and user fees (tolls) to fund our transportation system.  Unless and until enough people are willing to get away from regressive taxation models, tolls and such are here to stay.  

          • AJP July 21, 2021 (1:40 pm)

            You got it. Tolls, sales taxes, gas taxes, they all affect lower income people the hardest, and lower income people pay a much larger portion of their income in taxes. Stop protecting rich people at the literal expense of the poor. 

  • psps July 20, 2021 (4:18 pm)

    It’s a mere rounding error compared to the $75 toll for using the bridge.

  • roger July 20, 2021 (4:47 pm)

    wait, they’re adding a toll to use the repaired bridge when it reopens?

    • WSB July 20, 2021 (5:52 pm)


  • Auntie July 20, 2021 (6:49 pm)

    How did y’all get so far off track here – the article is about the toll for the Hwy 99 tunnel. Not the West Seattle High Bridge. Not the West Seattle Low Bridge. Sheesh!

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