SEATTLE - Well before the 520 toll started, University of Washington professor Robert Plotnik worked on a report on how the toll might impact low income families in the Puget Sound area.
I don't think the traffic research community had thought of this before, said Plotnik.
Plotnik and his team used 2006 commuting data and looked at the travel patterns for 4,500 households in the Puget Sound area. The research specifically focused on households that earn $44,000 a year or less.
Plotnik said his team's findings showed only one percent of low income households rely on the 520 floating bridge, and would not be impacted by the tolls. The findings were presented to the State Department of Transportation, according to Plotnik.
It would make it easier to justify tolls, said Plotnik about his findings.
The University of Washington professor added, If we didn't have tolls, we'd probably be paying for this with sales tax, and sales taxes take more from all low income households in the region compared to middle and high income households.
Read Plotnik's report on how 520 tolling impacts low income families.