OLYMPIA - Tolling studies and policies will be among the topics of discussion when the Washington State Transportation Commission meets next week in Olympia. The Commission will also consider a request to name two highways in Clark County. In addition, Commissioners will consider the legislative budget for Washington State Ferries and begin discussions about ferry fares.
The meeting will be held Wednesday, May 20, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Avenue SE in Olympia, starting at 9 a.m. and will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 21. The meeting is open to the public and people wishing to address the Commission may do so during the public comment period scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Secretary Paula Hammond will provide an overview of recent tolling studies as part of her report to the Commission. Tolling is being considered as a possible new transportation revenue source to finance major highway construction projects that exceed available funding. Secretary Hammond will present a high-clip schedule for tolling and financing of potential toll projects, including the I-5 Columbia River Crossing, I-405 Express Toll lanes, SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel, SR 509 at SeaTac, and the SR 167 extension in Pierce County.
The State Treasurer will discuss with the Commission needed policy that should be put in place to support the financing structure for future tolling facilities. Formal tolling policies are necessary when projects are largely financed with bonds to be paid for with anticipated toll revenues. The Commission is the state tolling authority and sets tolls for state highways and bridges and fares for Washington State Ferries.
Also on Wednesday, the Commission will consider a request (Senate Joint Memorial 8006) for the naming of SR 502 as the "Battle Ground Highway" and a portion of SR 503 as the "Lewisville Highway." SR 502 provides a connection from I-5 to Battle Ground. The portion of SR 503 being considered is from SR 500 at Orchards to SR 502 Battle Ground and north to Amboy.
On Thursday, legislative staff will give an overview of the budget that was passed by the legislature for WSDOT's Ferries Division (WSF). Commissioners will consider this information as they begin conversations with Ferry Advisory Committee members regarding ferry fare adjustments and public involvement planned for later this year.