State commission to set SR 99 tunnel toll rates, explore technology advances in transportation Transportation Commission meets in Olympia, Oct. 16-17

Washington State Transportation Commission – NEWS
Transportation Commission Office – PO Box 47308 – Olympia, WA 98504-7308

Oct. 10, 2018

Contact: Reema Griffith, WSTC Executive Director, 360-705-7070 (Olympia)

OLYMPIA – Adoption of toll rates for the State Route 99 tunnel under downtown Seattle and presentations on how technology is, and will, change transportation to help address gridlock and congestion are on the Washington State Transportation Commission’s meeting agenda next week in Olympia.

The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

Tuesday morning, the commission will hear updates about the Road Usage Charge Pilot Program, and the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group created to develop recommendations for the operation of autonomous vehicles on Washington roads. The commission then will turn to tolling issues, beginning with a year-end traffic and revenue report on state tolled facilities for the 2018 fiscal year, followed by an update on new toll-system operation contractors.   

At 11 a.m., the commission will conduct a hearing on the proposed toll rates for the SR 99 tunnel. The proposal varies toll rates by time of day, with initial toll rates for drivers with a Good To Go! pass ranging from $1.25 to $2.25 on weekdays, with overnight and weekend rates of $1.  Under this proposal, toll rates increase by three percent every three years beginning in July 2022. This option is projected to generate enough revenue to cover costs as required under law, including toll operations, maintenance and debt payments associated with tunnel construction. Following public comment, the commission is expected to take action to adopt the toll rate proposal.

Tuesday afternoon’s agenda includes items addressing the evolution of technology and transportation, and how technology is being used to help relieve congestion. At 1 p.m., Neil Pedersen, executive director of the Transportation Research Board (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) will talk about the implications for long-term transportation planning and funding in light of the onset of autonomous vehicles and other emergent transportation technologies. Following, commissioners will hear from representatives of three companies using technology to offer new travel alternatives to drivers.

At 3:15 p.m., the commission will learn about the automated CommutePool system the City of Bellevue is planning to test. Riders will access the system via a smartphone app, which will identify pick-up and drop-off locations, find available parking at park-and-rides or leased parking areas, and reserve seats at specific times. CommutePool could provide many of the advantages of a vanpool, but with greater flexibility to travel at different times or to use the service only on some days.

On Wednesday, the commission will review feedback and recommend revisions to the draft Washington Transportation Plan 2040. WTP 2040 and Beyond is a statewide policy plan addressing the six statutorily-mandated transportation goals promoting economic vitality, mobility, safety, preservation, environmental health, and stewardship. Its framework ensures that transportation plans and investments for local streets and roadways, state highways, transit, ferries, sidewalks, bike lanes, air, barge, and rail all work together to keep people and freight moving safely and efficiently. The commission will adopt WTP 2040 in December.

The commission will receive survey results of ferry rider satisfaction with Washington State Ferries’ reservation system. It is one of several surveys conducted this year utilizing the Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG) survey panel made up of more than 30,000 ferry riders.

The meeting concludes with a Washington Department of Health presentation on the linkages between housing cost, transportation, and health.

The commission meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during several public comment periods throughout the two-day meeting.

For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda visit:



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