Tolling started today on State Route 520’s floating bridge, one of two bridges that connect the city of Seattle to ‘the other side’ or ‘the East side’. The money is needed for an upgrade to the bridge (see ‘existing’ and ‘new’ pictures .. the option with Light Rail will be possible but is not yet approved or funded). By the year 2030, our region is expected to grow by more than 1.3 million people and add 700,000 jobs. (Here’s the link http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/questions.htm).
Drivers have to buy transponders (roughly half a credit card size, as shown on the mobile kiosk selling them), stick it inside their cars’ windshields and activate the account. And then you are good to go. There is no stopping on the bridge and throwing coins in a basket (aww, that was always fun!) or saying ‘hello’ to an attendant as in days gone by. The approaching car sends back its signal, and the driver’s account gets debited with varying amounts – free between midnight and 5 a.m. and then up to $3.50 for rush hour (5 bucks if you’re without a good to go pass! .. you will get charged by mail).
I have had my pass for awhile and drove across the bridge and back last night. Sure enough, back home a check of my account showed an update with the charges and times that I crossed the bridge. So I can see why there are some privacy concerns out there. The little transponder enables Big Brother to track you, in places other than the bridge as well. Yes. The radar is out there and you cannot drive ‘under’ it.