State Department of Transportation officials continue to say they did not convert general purpose lanes on Interstate 405 to toll lanes. We wrote on this fallacy five years ago, stating that:
•The new lanes are already paid for with the Nickel and TPA gas tax projects approved in 2005 and 2007 and the gas tax projects on I-405 were always intended to be general purpose.
•WSDOT has already built a portion of the new lanes and they are being used by general purpose traffic.
•All of the numbers and assumptions in the I-405 Master Plan call for the new lanes to be general purpose.
•If SHB 2941 fails, WSDOT would continue building the new lanes and they would be general purpose.
Many travelers are asking for the old lanes they enjoyed for years to be given back. One commenter on WSDOT’s blog begged state officials to “give us back our 4th general lane” on I-405. But according to WSDOT, they didn’t take it in the first place:
DOT officials told one twitter user that there was “no change in the number of general purpose lanes. 3 Bellevue-Bothell and 2 Bothell-Lynnwood”:
According to WSDOT, there were always three general purpose lanes on I-405, but that’s not what they told the public back in 2007. Then, WSDOT officials promoted the I-405 widening project by promising drivers a fourth general purpose lane. See below:
There is no doubt state officials converted general purpose lanes to toll lanes.
Bob Pishue ([email protected]) is director of the Coles Center for Transportation at the Washington Policy Center. An earlier version of this article appeared at http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/wsdot-forgets-they-converted-general-purpose-lanes-toll-lanes/. Reprinted with permission.