Who keeps the bridge toll money?

The in basket: With tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge seemingly fated to jump a dollar per crossing in about a month, Carol Johnson asks “Where’s the money from all the Good-To-Go! accounts kept? Who gets the interest generated from holding that money? And does it go into the general fund and get spent for who knows what or is it earmarked to pay down the debt for the Narrows bridge?
“Inquiring minds want to know,” she said.
The out basket: Janet Matkin of the Good to Go! staff answers that the narrows bridge tolls “are accounted for in a separate account within the state treasury that is dedicated to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. All spending is appropriated by the Legislature and allotted and monitored by the Office of Financial Management.”
Interest is accrued on toll revenue, including the prepaid Good to Go! accounts, and has been dedicated to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge account, she said. All toll revenue and interest earnings in the account will go towards paying the debt on bonds used to finance construction of the bridge and for paying ongoing operating and maintenance costs. Retirement of the bonds will allow the tolls to end, expected to happen in 2030.
The opening of tolled HOT lanes (on Highway 167 east of I-5)) earlier this month complicates the matter as far as crediting interest earnings on the prepaid accounts to the correct facility, she noted.
So the state is creating a Central Tolling Fund in which “all Good To Go! prepaid deposits will go into a central deposit fund. Then, when a customer uses one of the tolling facilities, the appropriate toll is recorded and that amount is transferred to the correct facility’s account.
“The interest from the prepaid accounts will be distributed on a percentage basis determined by the revenue levels for each fund,” she said.
Inquiring minds can learn more in RCWs 47.56.160 and 47.56.165, she added.
Randy Boss, a critic of the bridge tolls, says he has submitted a public records request for bank records to check on this answer, and says he’ll let us know what he finds when he gets them.

3 thoughts on “Who keeps the bridge toll money?

  1. So when will the bonds reach retirement age and when can we look forward to the end of the toll? Just curious!!

  2. Carol asked where the money from the “Good to Go” accounts is kept and who gets the interest. This is a serious question that was not answered here. There are now almost 100,000 Good to Go accounts and over 250,000 transponders in use. Each account is required to pre-pay a minimum of $30 for each account. If you only use the $30 minimum then there is a $3 million (yes $3 million) pool of money out there somewhere? That’s the question Carol asked! But, as is typical with the Department of Transportation they choose to answer a different question – one that was not even asked. Shame on you, Travis Baker, for allowing the DOT to side step this quetion. You’re usually better then that.

  3. “Interest is accrued on toll revenue, including the prepaid Good to Go! accounts, and has been dedicated to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge account.” What part of that don’t you understand, Randy? The ‘pool of money’ is ‘toll revenue.’ ‘Toll revenue’ interest, including the interest on that pool of momey, goes to the bridge.

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