Tolls are here to stay on Washington’s highways, despite an audit released this week that confirmed many drivers’ complaints about missing bills and computer glitches. We asked readers to share how tolls on highways 520 and 167, Interstate 405 and other roadways have changed the way they travel around the Puget Sound region. Here is a selection of the responses we received:
I-405 is faster
Tolls have improved Interstate 405 — especially northbound in the afternoon. The old carpool lane didn’t seem any faster than the general-purpose lanes. The big problem northbound is the lane loss connecting to Highway 522.
Bob Thompson, Kirkland
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Getting to medical appointments is costly
I take I-90 and avoid I-405 any way I can. I have cancer and must go to Seattle on a frequent basis for medical appointments. It’s very frustrating to have to incur up to $9 a day going to and from appointments.
Cami Keyes, Redmond
Avoid traffic by paying tolls
I’m more likely to used tolled roads and avoid free roads if there is heavy traffic. I will nearly always use express lanes on I-405 to reduce time spent in traffic.
Mike Gordon, Woodinville
In general, I drive to Seattle about 10 percent as often as I used to. The tolls, and the congestion on I-90 caused by diversions, have motivated me to shift the vast majority of my discretionary trips away from Seattle. My consumer dollars are now spent almost exclusively on the Eastside.
I no longer subscribe to the Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet or the Seattle Art Museum, for example.
Tolls on I-405 have also created more friction in the general-purpose lanes between Bellevue and Kirkland. Therefore, I go to Kirkland less often, too.
Additionally, I arrange as many work-related meetings out of Seattle to avoid paying tolls and high parking charges.
Overall, I drive about the same number of miles as in the past, and I still very rarely take transit. My behavioral changes from tolling (and punitive parking taxes) are to drive where it’s more convenient and less expensive.
Todd Woosley, Bellevue
Lanes on I-405 are only for the rich
My wife and I have been paying high gas taxes here for 24 years. We feel we have paid for I-405. Then the state Department of Transportation re-striped the diamond lanes, took them away from us and gave them to rich people. I hate that.
Paul Sagdahl, Sammamish
Give us a couple free trips
I don’t go to the Eastside to shop or eat unless I have to, and I can take I-90 as an alternative. I have taken Highway 520 a couple of times for work, but that’s it. I think we, as citizens and taxpayers, should be allowed three or four trips for free.
Scott Souhock, Seattle