Toll rate options for the State Route 520 bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge and Interstate 405 express toll lanes will be discussed when the State Transportation Commission meets next week in Olympia.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Wednesday, Feb. 17, and Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment periods at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday and noon Thursday.
On Wednesday, the commission will receive from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Tolling Division and consultants, information about several possible scenarios to consider for 2016 toll rate and policy adjustments on the new SR 520 floating bridge. Because toll rates need to increase in 2016 to meet financial and debt requirements, the commission is considering options on how those requirements can be met. The commission will select which of the scenarios presented to advance for public review and comment.
Wednesday afternoon, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers will meet with the commission to share her perspectives on the recent federal transportation funding legislation, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
Also on Wednesday, the chairman of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen’s Advisory Committee will brief the commission on its toll recommendations for 2016. Although toll rates are currently scheduled to increase by 50 cents on July 1, 2016, the commission may reconsider that plan in light of increased traffic across the bridge, which resulted in a small increase to anticipated revenues.
Express toll lane operations on I-405 will also be discussed Wednesday afternoon, including information on the challenges and successes of express toll lane facilities across the nation. WSDOT will present the latest performance data for both the I-405 express toll and general purpose lanes, including operational changes completed, under way, or planned. The commission will also discuss the recent request of several legislators for operational changes, including when tolls should and should not be assessed.
On Thursday, the commission will discuss 2016 survey themes and schedules for the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group (FROG) survey panel, which provides input on ferry operations, funding and policies to Washington State Ferries, the commission, the Legislature, and Governor. The commission also will receive briefings from the County Road Administration Board and the Transportation Improvement Board, two state agencies that provide grants and technical assistance for counties and cities on local street and road projects.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/