"HOT" = High Occupancy Travel. Your state may have a different term for it. Anyway, apparently, these are big in Calilfornia so guess what, Washington State is trying it out. One will be (if not already) implemented on SR (State Route) 167 from Renton to Auburn. Gee, in the 70's I used to travel down SR 167 to visit the guy I was dating at the time, don't recall THAT much congestion to warrant a toll there.... guess I haven't been there for awhile..... Anyway, there is a special "HOT" lane. Carpools can travel in that lane for free. But if you are not a carpool and want to travel in the HOT lane, you have to get a transponder and prepay. Then, depending on what time you travel in the HOT lane on that highway, you will pay between 50 cents and $9. So far, this will be "tested" on SR167. IF it's successful, it may get added to I-90 from Seattle over Lake Washington to Mercer Island, and it may get put on the SR520 bridge from Bellevue to Seattle. (Gee, in the 70's when I lived in Bellevue, SR520 had a toll and then it was removed....).
So, how to avoid the tolls? Well, just suffer with the traffic in the non-HOT lanes, or continue West on I-405 to I-5 South, then exit and go back East toward Auburn for the SR167 one. For the SR520 (If one is implemented), you would have to either go north or south on I-405, connect with I-5 at either end, and then figure out where you are going. For the I-90 one (If implemented) to Mercer Island, well, you are stuck if you really really need to go to Mercer Island.
The article (In AAA Motor Club magazine) also says they thought about doing it on SR395 in Spokane, but it wouldn't work because you can avoid the toll with surface streets.
Any other states experimenting with "congestion pricing" on roads? Which road? How can we avoid it?