Washington Transportation Commission to discuss road usage charging and tolling

The results of California’s Road Charge Pilot Project and an update on enrollment for Washington’s Road Usage Charge Pilot Project will be among the highlights of the State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week. The commission also will hear the findings and recommendations from a recent independent review of the Interstate 405 express toll lanes.

 

The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday, Feb. 13, and Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

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On Tuesday morning, the commission will have briefings on legislative developments in Olympia and in Washington, D.C., regarding transportation. The commission also will hear about a major effort underway by the maritime industry to secure additional federal funding for ongoing maintenance and repair of the Ballard Locks. The locks, which have been in operation for more than 100 years, allow ships to move between Lake Union, Lake Washington and the Puget Sound. Water levels in the ship canal and the lakes rely on the locks and their failure could potentially impact other infrastructure, such as the Lake Washington floating bridges.

 

Tuesday afternoon the California Department of Transportation will present the results of their 2017 statewide test of road usage charging. A road usage charge is a per-mile charge drivers would pay for the use of the roads, rather than paying by the gallon of gas. In light of the growing fuel efficiency of new vehicles, California and Oregon each have tested this potential replacement to the gas tax to provide a more sustainable, long-term funding source for transportation infrastructure. Washington has just begun a pilot project with 2,000 volunteers from across the state, testing four different ways to pay by the mile.

 

Tuesday’s agenda also includes an update on Target Zero, the state’s highway safety plan, including new work recently completed on bicycle and pedestrian safety. In addition, three state agencies that make grants to cities, counties, ports and transit agencies for transportation projects will discuss their 2018 legislative and policy priorities.

 

Wednesday’s agenda is dedicated to tolling topics. First, a research team from the University of Minnesota will present its findings and recommendations on the performance of the I-405 express toll lanes and recommend strategies for near- and long-term improvement of traffic performance in the corridor. The commission establishes the minimum and maximum toll rates for the dynamically-tolled lanes.

 

WSDOT also will report data comparing actual and projected traffic and revenue for all toll facilities in the first half of fiscal year 2018. And, the Office of the State Treasurer will confirm that toll revenue on the State Route 520 bridge is adequate to meet financial obligations.

 

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: www.wstc.wa.gov/

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