Transportation Commission Office – PO Box 47308 – Olympia, WA 98504-7308
Date: July 12, 2019
Contact: Reema Griffith, Transportation Commission Executive Director, 360-705-7070
July meeting topics include road usage charging and autonomous vehicles
OLYMPIA – At its meeting next week in Olympia, the Washington State Transportation Commission will take action on a resolution honoring Petty Officer First Class Regina Clark, the first Lewis County resident killed during combat in Iraq. The commission also will discuss the progress of the Road Usage Charge (RUC) pilot project and possible recommendations to the Legislature.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, and at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
On Tuesday morning, the commission will receive a briefing on efforts to return passenger ferry service to Lake Washington communities. Rocale Timmons, with Seco Development, will talk about her company’s effort to build and operate water taxis between its Renton development and top tech centers in the region.
The commission will receive briefings on the results of the one-year-long, road usage charge pilot project. Consultant staff will report on the analysis of the data gathered; system performance; participant feedback and focus group results; and, the outcome of a bi-state RUC test with Oregon and an international test with Surrey, British Columbia. Transactions that occurred between the two states, and international border crossing dynamics, were assessed with drivers. The RUC Steering Committee’s policy findings and preliminary recommendations also will be presented, as the commission begins its final report to the Legislature, due January 2020. Since 2012, at the direction of the Legislature, the commission has assessed a RUC system as a possible replacement to the gas tax as vehicle fuel efficiency increases and gas tax revenues decline.
At 11:30 a.m., the commission will act on House Joint Memorial 4007, a request by the Legislature to name the State Route 507 Skookumchuck River Bridge for Petty Officer First Class Regina Clark. A Lewis County resident who served in operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ms. Clark died in combat in Iraq on June 23, 2005, when a suicide car bomber and gunmen ambushed the convoy she was traveling in.
Tuesday afternoon, subcommittees of the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group will provide a status report on its work and submit some early recommendations on autonomous vehicle policy needs. The commission is required under law to utilize the work group to annually develop policy and regulatory recommendations for the use of autonomous vehicles on Washington roadways. The commission will submit its next report with recommendations on autonomous vehicle deployment to the Legislature and Governor in November 2019.
Tuesday’s meeting concludes with a report on the findings of the Winter 2019 Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group (FROG) Survey. FROG surveys thousands of ferry riders each year to assess the performance of Washington State Ferries and the attitudes of ferry riders.
On Wednesday, the commission will hear updates on the state’s toll facilities, including planning for new I-405 express toll lanes and the Puget Sound Gateway Program that will connect SR 167 and SR 509 to the ports of Tacoma and Seattle. The update includes current traffic and revenue data for existing toll facilities, and initial steps on tolling studies directed by the 2019 legislature.
Finally, the commission will receive a briefing by the City of Seattle on its recent analysis of congestion pricing as a strategy to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating a more equitable transportation system. Congestion pricing would charge a fee or toll for single-occupancy vehicles to use specific downtown streets. Staff will report on work to date, lessons other cities have learned, an initial analysis of different pricing tools, potential equity impacts, and next steps for future phases of work.
The commission meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so at public comment times at the end of each day.
For more information on transportation commission or its ferry fare proposal, please visit the commission’s web site at: www.wstc.wa.gov
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