Transportation Commission Office - PO Box 47308 - Olympia, WA 98504-7308
Date: March 10, 2010
Contact: Reema Griffith, Transportation Commission Executive Director, 360-705-7070
OLYMPIA: The Washington State Transportation Commission will hold its regular monthly meeting next week in Olympia. The two-day meeting will cover many topics including possible action on toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (TNB), continued discussions leading to toll setting later in the year for the SR 520 Bridge, and work on the state’s 20-year transportation plan.
The two-day meeting will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 16-17, at the Transportation Building on the Olympia Capital Campus, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE in Olympia starting at 9 a.m. both days.
On Tuesday morning, the Commission will discuss the 2011 – 2030 Washington Transportation Plan (WTP) update. WTP 2030 is a comprehensive and balanced statewide transportation plan that establishes a 20-year vision for the development of the statewide transportation system, covering state highways and ferries to sidewalks and bike paths, county roads, city streets, public transit, air and rail. The Commission will adopt the final WTP 2030 by December of this year.
The WTP will include an estimate of the total unfunded statewide transportation need over 20 years and will identify significant statewide transportation issues. A session Tuesday afternoon is part of that data collection; the Commission will hear from the Department of Transportation, counties and cities about their long-term preservation needs.
On Wednesday morning, the Commission will continue preliminary work with WSDOT toward developing the toll rate structure for the SR 520 Bridge. Discussions will cover the rate setting timeline, possible rate levels and structure, and an update on the project per recent legislative action redefining what tolls can pay for.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Commission will continue its deliberations on TNB toll rates for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010 as well as discuss draft toll policy for the bridge. At its January meeting, the Commission took a preliminary action to propose cash tolls increase to $5.00 and electronic tolls increase to $3.25. The TNB Citizen Advisory Committee has recommended an increase in the cash toll to $5.00 but recommends electronic toll rates remain at the current $2.75. The Commission will consider the impact of legislative action on TNB debt repayment, recent TNB traffic and revenue data, and debt coverage in determining whether to propose toll increases this year.
A highlight of Tuesday’s meeting is an update on the successful non-stop, 5-day rail service that began 4 years ago near Walla Walla. Tom Shurstad, President of Railex USA, will talk about its expansion and challenges.
Additional presentations on Wednesday will feature reports from WSDOT on congestion reduction and work zone safety.