By: Graham Johnson, KIRO 7 News
SEATTLE – Toll collection on the new State Route 99 tunnel won't start until this fall, transportation officials told KIRO 7 on Wednesday.
Pushing back the start of tolls, which had been planned for late this summer, comes as the new toll vendor is struggling to build a billing system.
“We don’t know when in the fall, but our commitment to drivers is to provide them at least a month’s notice,” said Emily Glad, of the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Preparations for tunnel tolling come as the state transitions the system for all toll roads to a new vendor, ETAN, which has a $15.7 million contract with the state.
WSDOT officials say the company began missing deadlines last December.
The state wants the problems fixed before adding tens of thousands of new customers.
“WSDOT has been providing oversight, and we have expressed concern and frustration with the company as they have had milestones they have not met,” Glad said.
Glad said the state will seek compensation from the company for the delay.
KIRO 7 was unable to reach ETAN for comment.
The Legislature mandated tolls to help pay for the new tunnel, which opened in February.
One-way tolls will range from $1 to $2.25 with a Good to Go pass, depending on the time of day.
Without a pass, the tolls will cost $2 more.
WSDOT estimates only a third of tunnel drivers now have toll passes.
State officials are offering a limited number of Good to Go stickers for free to people who take an online survey, a savings of $5.
When the new back-end toll system launches, state officials plan to offer a pay-as-you-go option for the first time, allowing customers to be charged for the trips they take, instead of loading up a prepaid account.
How much will the tolls cost once they begin?