Paige Dorans of Gig Harbor isn’t intimately familiar with the factors that determine how much she pays to cross the eastbound span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
What she does know is that the increased toll rates that went into effect July 1 are hitting her hard. Using her electronic Good to Go! pass, it now costs 45 percent more every time she crosses the bridge in her 2011 Kia Forte.
“Four dollars just seems like so much more than $2.75,” Dorans said, complaining that her account is drained of funds much more quickly.
Dorans, 20, holds down two jobs to pay the bills; she works at Desert Sun Tanning Salon in Gig Harbor and as a nanny for a family in the city. She said the pricier crossing affects her decision-making when it comes to matters both minor and consequential.
The extra cost derailed her plans to move to Tacoma. She figures she made the more cost-effective decision to rent an apartment in Gig Harbor, where she has lived for six years.
Trips eastward to eat and shop are now weighed more carefully. Treks to Tacoma and other places aren’t quite as frequent they once were, and she questions the necessity of such outings.
But Tacoma’s loss is Gig Harbor’s gain. Dorans said she patronizes businesses on the west side more often now. New shopping developments on Point Fosdick Drive and in North Gig Harbor have made it easier for peninsula residents to stay close to home. For Dorans, trips to the Silverdale Mall have largely replaced visits to the Tacoma Mall.
The new toll rates aren’t sitting well with Dorans’ boyfriend, either, she said, noting he lives on the other side of the bridge and doesn’t have a Good to Go! pass.
“It costs him $5 every time he comes here,” she said.
She’s sympathetic to those affected even more than she is, namely those who have to make multiple bridge crossings each day.
The family who employs her as a nanny, for instance, has an office in Bellevue they commute to on a daily basis.