Analysis Complete for Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5825

Office of Financial Management

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ESSB 5825, titled AN ACT Relating to tolling the Interstate 405, state route number 167, and state route number 509, 10 year analysis complete.

The Office of Financial Management has identified this bill as requiring a ten-year projection of increased cost to the taxpayers or affected fee payers.

Ten-year projection:

Section 2: Authorizes issuance and sale of general obligation bonds first payable from toll revenue and motor vehicle fuel tax and vehicle-related fees. Includes $1 billion for the Interstate 405 corridor, $160 million for the SR 167 corridor, and $340 million for the Puget Sound Gateway facility.


Section 11: Extends authorization for tolling on I-405 express toll lanes south from NE 6th Street in Bellevue to I-5 in Tukwila, and permanently authorizes tolling on SR 167 express toll lanes from I-405 in Renton on the north end to SR 512 on the south end.


Sections 12 & 13: Creates separate accounts created in the motor vehicle fund for I-405 express toll lanes and SR 167 express toll lanes. Maintains the current 45 miles per hour 90% of the time standard as a goal in terms of dynamic rate setting and performance reporting. Establishes uses of the general obligation bonds authorized on Section 2 of this bill for each facility.


Section 14: Authorizing tolling on the Puget Sound Gateway project / facility, which includes the state route number 167 roadway between north Meridian Avenue in Puyallup and Interstate 5 in Fife, the state route number 509 spur between Interstate 5 in Fife and state route number 509 in Tacoma, and the state route number 509 roadway between south 188th street and Interstate 5 in SeaTac. Prior to setting toll rates for SR 509 in SeaTac, WSDOT in collaboration with the Commission shall analyze and present to the Commission at least one schedule of toll rates that exempts, discounts, or provides other toll relief for low-income drivers during all hours of operation. WSDOT must consider implementing the program for drivers that reside close to the corridor.


Section 15: Creates a single account in the motor vehicle fund for the Puget Sound Gateway facilities. Establishes intent for bond proceeds authorized by the bill (Section 2) be used to advance funds for the Puget Sound Gateway facility by two bienna, with tolling beginning as soon as possible on phase 1. This will allow completion of the project in FY 2028, three years earlier than planned. Five million dollars of the bond proceeds shall also be used for noise mitigation on SR 509 in SeaTac.


The Transportation Commission does not reflect cash receipts since the Department of Transportation (WSDOT) collects these fees (tolls). In addition, the revenue generated through these intended fees (tolls) cannot be determined because it is not known whether, when, and to what degree, the Commission will adopt toll rates.


The Washington State Transportation Commission sets toll rates; therefore, cash receipts are indeterminate.


Section 11(1) authorizes tolls for express toll lanes (ETLs) on: (1) I-405 between I-5 on the north end in Lynnwood and I-5 on the south end in Tukwila, and (2) SR 167 between I-405 on the north end and SR 512 on the south end. This will (1) extend the toll authorization on I-405 ETLs to the south (between Bellevue and Renton), and (2) extend SR 167 tolls to the south (to SR 512) and allow the high occupancy toll lanes pilot project to become the permanent express toll lanes.


For the purpose of this analysis, the department assumes toll commencement on I-405 ETLs Renton to Bellevue (RTB) in fiscal year 2025 after the I-405 Renton to Bellevue Widening and Express Toll Lanes project is complete and the public is informed by the toll marketing campaigns. Due to uncertainties of toll rates, number of transactions, and other variables, the cash receipts impact of tolls on I-405 ETLs Renton to Bellevue is indeterminate.


Section 13 of this bill creates state route number 167 express toll lanes account; Section 17 repeals the HOT lanes pilot project on SR 167 and the department assumes continuation of tolls on SR 167 ETLs in fiscal year 2020. Revenues starting in fiscal year 2025 are expected to increase significantly with the completion of SR 167 ETLs improvement. The significant increase in revenue is expected due to the completion of the SR 167 Photo Toll project by the end of fiscal year 2024. The current facility is electronic tolling only and can only receive revenues from vehicles equipped with transponders. Starting in fiscal year 2025, SR 167 will be able to capture the revenues from photo tolls (Pay by Mail and Pay by Plate). The facility will also benefit from the complete express lanes connection with I-405 ETLs. The cash receipts impact of tolls on SR 167 ETLs starting fiscal year 2025 is indeterminate. 


Section 14(1) authorizes tolls for the Puget Sound Gateway Facility. Section 15(4) states the intent to use bond proceeds to allow stage 2 of the project to be open to the public in fiscal year 2028, three years earlier than originally planned. Based on Gateway program Case #2 medium acceleration schedule, toll commencement for stage 1 is expected in fiscal year 2026. The cash receipts impact of tolls on Gateway project starting fiscal year 2026 is indeterminate. 


Although the impact to the cash receipts is indeterminate, the department has conducted preliminary traffic and revenue analysis and provided the following moderate range of cash receipt impact estimate.