Washington hires Sherry Matthews for $2.3m effort

The toll division of the Washington State Department of Transportation has hired Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing to launch a statewide educational campaign about express toll lanes.

OLYMPIA, WA: The toll division of the Washington State Department of Transportation has hired Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing to launch a statewide educational campaign about express toll lanes.

The state has allocated $2.3 million for the outreach effort, which will highlight express toll lanes on Interstate 405 that will run 20 miles between Lynnwood and Bellevue, WA, and are expected to open next year. It will also promote Good to Go! tolling passes. To date, the Transportation Department serves more than 400,000 accounts on the Good to Go! system.

It may also ask the firm to provide communications support for State Route 99, an underground tunnel under construction beneath Seattle, according to the RFP for the contract.

The account will run for three years, with the option for a fourth. The agency will research, develop, and implement a communications campaign that will kick off next year.

The effort, developed by Sherry Matthews, will emphasize how the I-405 dual express toll lanes work, the benefits of tolls, and how the facility will work within a system to improve regional mobility.

The firm beat five other agencies for the contract, said Patricia Michaud, communications manager for the division. The Transportation Department previously worked with integrated agency Magner Sanborn to promote the State Route 520 Bridge. That firm was a finalist for this contract, according to RFP documents. Weber Shandwick and Seattle-based branding firm GreenRubino also expressed interest in the account.

In picking the Texas-based agency, Michaud noted that Sherry Matthews' broad experience with state agencies of all types, as well as other toll divisions, sealed the deal.

“Our challenge is that the concept of tolling is still new for some in the state, and so there is need for more education,” Michaud said.

Representatives from Sherry Matthews and Magner Sanborn did not return requests for comment.

In June, Georgia's State Road and Tollway Authority awarded Porter Novelli a multi-million-dollar contract to support various state agency programs.

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