Who Could Have Predicted?

It’s not time to hit the panic button yet, but this is certainly a really bad sign.

PubliCola has learned that the Washington State Department of Transportation, which initially predicted it would be able to raise $400 million in toll revenues to pay to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel, now believes tolls will raise only $200 million, half the original projection.

The $200 million figure comes from WSDOT’s proposed tunnel budget (see page 9), which is currently being reviewed by the state legislature. The revised budget now assumes $702 million in funding from the federal government—$219 million more than the original assumption of $483 million.

As Erica C. Barnett says, so far federal money will pay for this. And if the economy picks up, some of the toll money is likely to recover. So it’s not a showdown between the city and state at this point. But it brings us closer to that point.


  1. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    From now on, Alabama freeways cost only half as much, because they only need the northbound lanes. Since passing their immigrant-bashing law, everybody’s leaving and nobody goes there. We can use the money that saved.

  2. 4

    parmenion spews:

    You’re being facetious, of course. They made those projections in the face of one of the worst economies in memory, and now they’re blaming the economy for a projection that is off by a whopping 50 percent . . . BEFORE the project has barely got off the ground? God help us with the remaining projections.

    Let’s see what our intrepid city council has to say now . . .

  3. 5

    Michael spews:

    Going off the top of my head with the numbers here, but VMT started to plateau ’round ’bout 2002 and peaked ’round ’bout ’05-’06.

    Just stumbled across this little gem; it seems you can track VMT by model year, the older the car the less it gets driven. Our passenger car fleet has been aging for quite a while, again that something that started before the recession. Check page #8 here: http://www.uctc.net/research/papers/231.pdf

    WSDOT, just flat out fucked the numbers.

  4. 6

    Michael spews:

    #5 continued. The recession compounded the issue, it didn’t cause it.

    And with that, I’m off to bed.

  5. 7

    Randroid spews:

    I am going to do the “I told you so” dance every chance I get, when those tunnel overruns bleed Seattle dry.
    Same with the tolls on I-90 to pay for 520.

  6. 8

    ivan spews:

    If the best you can do is start off by citing Erica C. Barnett, maybe blogging isn’t for you.

  7. 9

    ArtFart spews:

    Don’t worry. The oil companies and their lobbyists will make sure that even if our present wave of “austerity” leaves everything else by the wayside, the means will be found to build more and more roads to fill with more and more cars.

  8. 10

    uptown spews:


    Guess we won’t be able to subsidize the rest of the state anymore. Get ready to start paying your way.

  9. 11

    X spews:

    10. uptown spews:

    Guess we won’t be able to subsidize the rest of the state anymore. Get ready to start paying your way.

    02/28/2012 AT 8:02 PM

    Cool, Im down with that…at the same time, King Co doesnt get any more say on how the rest of the state conducts its affairs.

    fair is fair…coolio.