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New Marketing Campaign: Pushing People to Drive More in Seattle

Now that Seattle has proven they don't need the new Highway 99 tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, will enough people use it in the future to cover the costs of construction, operation, and maintenance?
January 27, 2019, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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There are people who said the Highway 99 tunnel was unnecessary to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

"The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is spending $4.4 million begging you to drive under Downtown Seattle," reports Ryan Packer.

WSDOT might have reason to worry that commuters won't use the new Highway 99 tunnel that went $223 million over budget. Commuters managed without the Alaskan Way Viaduct or the yet-to-be-opened tunnel for most of this month.

In response, the WSDOT has launched a marketing campaign, "with expensive TV spots and billboards wants to ensure that the new tunnel is full of motorists when it opens."

Still, some of the WSDOT's interest in the success of the tunnel's success is connected to the tolling that will help finance the project. "WSDOT’s financing plan (even before the overruns climbed to $223 million with no sign of stopping) relies on $200 million in tolling profits," according to Packer. "That tolling largesse is extracted from more than $1 billion in tolls projected over the next 25 years, due to considerable tolling overhead and maintenance and financing costs."

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Published on Thursday, January 24, 2019 in The Urbanist
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