Transportation Commission Office - PO Box 47308 - Olympia, WA 98504-7308
Date: April 14, 2015
Contact: Reema Griffith, Transportation Commission Executive Director, 360-705-7070
OLYMPIA – The public will have an opportunity this week and next to offer comments directly to the Washington State Transportation Commission on its toll rate proposal for the State Route 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The commission is proposing a 50 cent increase in 2015 and an additional 50 cent increase in 2016. The new rates would take effect on July 1 each year.
Meeting details are below:
- 6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 15 – Online Virtual Public Input Meeting: A presentation will be made on the rate proposal and project, and then commissioners will answer questions and take comments through a moderated online chat format. Details are provided on the WSTC website on how to participate in this meeting.
- 6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, Public Input Meeting - Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview Street, Gig Harbor: Public comment will be taken on the rate proposal, but no action by the commission is planned.
The rate increase reflects the recommendations made by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee. The proposed toll rates effective July 1, 2015 would be as follows:
- $5 for Good To Go!
- $6 cash
- $7 Pay By Mail
A final hearing on the rate proposal will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview Street, Gig Harbor. Public comment will be taken and the commission is expected to make a final decision at this meeting.
In addition to the public input meetings, the commission will be taking public comment through May 13 in a variety of ways:
Email: email@example.com. Please indicate “TNB Rates” in the subject line.
Website: Submit comments utilizing the online comment form on the commission’s website, under “contact us”: http://wstc.wa.gov/ContactUs/feedback.htm
Online Discussion Forums: People can join the Voice of Washington State (VOWS) input program and post ideas and comments utilizing the commission’s online discussion forums. Persons will be able to see all the comments submitted and can vote on them.
Washington State Transportation Commission
P.O. Box 47308
Olympia, WA 98504-7308
The commission is required by law to set toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in an amount that is sufficient to pay the annual debt payment increases for the bridge, as well as to pay for costs related to maintenance, preservation and operations of the bridge.
The commission evaluates several factors in arriving at its rate proposal, including bridge expenses that are paid for by toll revenue, trends in traffic volumes, the schedule for bond payments, ending balances in the toll revenue account, the rate recommendations from the governor-appointed Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee and public input.
The bridge was financed with an escalating debt structure to minimize the initial toll rates and impact on bridge users. Debt payments started out low when the bridge opened to traffic in 2007 and are now rising steeply, requiring additional toll revenue each year to pay the escalating obligation. Over the next four fiscal years, debt service payments grow from $53 million in 2015 to almost $73 million in 2019.
For more information about the commission visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/