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State sets tolls for new Hwy. 99 Seattle tunnel

Workers paint the lane stripes on the SR99 Waterfront Tunnel (Photo: WSDOT)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Officials approved tolls Tuesday for the new Highway 99 tunnel in Seattle that will vary depending on the time of day and day of the week.

The state Transportation Commission OK'd the tolls, which initially will range from a low of $1 during slow traffic hours to a maximum of $2.25 during the weekday afternoon rush hour. The vote was unanimous.

The rates will increase by 3 percent every three years, with the first increase set to take effect in 2022.

Money raised from the tolls will be used to repay $200 million in construction costs and also pay for the ongoing maintenance, operations and safety systems.

Officials say the tunnel won't charge tolls when it first opens in January. Instead, charging will begun after tolling equipment is installed at a date yet to be determined.

Not everyone will have to pay the tolls, according to commission staff. Exemptions will be in place for buses providing a public transportation service, ride-share vans such as van pools, emergency vehicles and some maintenance and response vehicles.

Here are the approved tolls and the hours they will be in effect:

- Weekdays, 6 to 7 a.m. - $1.25

- Weekdays, 7 to 9 a.m. - $1.50

- Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - $1.25

- Weekdays, 3 to 6 p.m. - $2.25

- Weekdays, 6 to 11 p.m. - $1.25

- Weekdays, 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. - $1

- Weekends, all hours - $1

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