Transportation Commission Office - PO Box 47308 - Olympia, WA 98504-7308
Date: March 12, 2015
Contact: Reema Griffith, Transportation Commission Executive Director, 360-705-7070
OLYMPIA – Toll rates for the State Route 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges will top the agenda when the Washington State Transportation Commission meets next week in Olympia. Both bridges will see rate adjustments on July 1, 2015. The commission will continue its work on tolling Wednesday evening, holding a final hearing on the I-405 express toll lanes rates and policies in Kirkland.
The meeting starts 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday. The commission will reconvene 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at Kirkland City Hall, 123 Fifth Ave., Kirkland, to take final action on toll rates and policies for the I-405 express toll lanes scheduled to open in fall 2015.
Tuesday morning the commission will review traffic and revenue data for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and consider the TNB Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommendations made during the commission’s February meeting. The advisory committee recommended toll rates increase 50 cents on July 1, 2015, and if needed, an additional 50 cents on July 1, 2016. The commission is required to set rates on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge sufficient to cover annual increases in debt payments and operational and maintenance costs.
The commission also will assess SR 520 bridge toll rates, reviewing traffic and revenue data and certifications, to determine if a planned 2.5 percent rate increase, scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2015, is sufficient. The commission established a toll rate plan in 2011 to meet financial requirements over the 30 year debt obligation. The plan calls for raising toll rates 2.5 percent a year for the first four years, followed by a one-time 15 percent toll-rate increase in 2016 – the year that the new bridge is scheduled to open. The commission is required by law to set toll rates for the SR 520 bridge at levels sufficient to pay for debt payments, maintenance, preservation and operations of the bridge.
In addition, the commission will hear a State Auditor’s Office briefing regarding an audit it has just started on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s toll collection system.
Tuesday’s afternoon session begins with discussion about the emergence of alternative fuel vehicles, with presentations on electric vehicles and propane vehicles. Commissioners will also hear WSDOT Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith give an overview of Washington State Ferries’ challenges and successes. Fred Jarrett, deputy King County executive, also will brief the commission on King County’s lean government initiatives in transportation.
Wednesday morning is devoted to several topics related to the recently adopted Washington Transportation Plan, which sets forth strategies and recommendations for the transportation system over the next 20 years. The commission will discuss how it will monitor and evaluate implementation of WTP 2035. WSDOT also will report on how it plans to further develop a detailed plan for the state multimodal system.
Additionally, the commission will explore recent progress on integrated trip planning, including a demonstration of King County Metro’s Puget Sound Trip Planner. The final briefing builds on data reported in WSDOT’s most recent Gray Notebook regarding pavement preservation needs the state, counties and cities face, and the growing funding shortfall to maintain and preserve the transportation network.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/