As the Northwest prepares major highway projects—including the expansion of the I-5 bridge across the Columbia River, the replacement SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington, and Seattle’s deep-bore tunnel—tolling has come to play an increasingly significant role in project financing.

Yet a review of the literature shows official projections are often wildly optimistic in their estimates of toll revenue and traffic volumes on newly-tolled roads. This is especially true of highways with toll-free alternative routes nearby.

While there’s no guarantee that today’s toll revenue forecasts will fall into the same traps, it’s clear that forecasts for tolled highway projects merit a very close look.

Toll Avoidance and Transportation Funding
September 20, 2011