State Transportation Commission proposes Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rate increase, seeks public input
Transportation Commission Office - PO Box 47308 - Olympia, WA 98504-7308
Date: March 24, 2015
Contact: Reema Griffith, Transportation Commission Executive Director, 360-705-7070
OLYMPIA – Toll customers and other interested persons will have a number of opportunities to comment on the Washington State Transportation Commission’s toll rate proposal for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Comments will be accepted starting today, March 24, until the final hearing on Wednesday, May 20.
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. The rate increase reflects the recommendations provided by the TNB Citizen Advisory Committee.
The proposed toll rates effective July 1, 2015, are:
- $5.00 for Good To Go!
- $6.00 cash
- $7.00 Pay By Mail
There will be three meetings for the public to comment on the rate proposal:
- 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.
- 6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 20, Final Hearing –Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview Street, Gig Harbor: Public comment will be taken and the commission is expected to make a final decision on a rate increase.
In addition to the public meetings, comments can be submitted until May 20 to the commission in a variety of ways:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 $54 million in 2015 to $73 million in 2019.
For more information about the commission visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/