OLYMPIA – Toll rate changes for the State Route 520 bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be among the action items for the Washington State Transportation Commission during its meeting next week in Olympia.
The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. both Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 - 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 public comment periods at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday. Public comment will be taken on each toll rate proposal prior to commission action on Tuesday afternoon.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, the commission is scheduled to repeal a 50-cent toll increase, enacted last year for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that would have taken effect July 1. A $2.5 million appropriation from the Legislature, and higher than forecasted bridge traffic, allows current toll levels to remain in place to meet debt obligations. The commission also will act to increase SR 520 bridge tolls in two steps over the next two years, with average 5 percent toll increases each year; that equates to weekday, peak period tolls increasing 20 cents each year. Other tolling topics on the agenda include a review of tolling over the past year, and an update on Interstate 405 operations and performance.
In response to requests from the 2016 Legislature, the commission also will act to name State Route 99 the “William P. Stewart Memorial Highway,” and name a portion of State Route 509 near the Port of Tacoma the “Philip Martin Lelli Memorial Highway.” Stewart lived and farmed in Snohomish County after volunteering as a member of the 29th U.S. Colored Infantry regiment during the Civil War. Lelli was a longshoreman and Port Commissioner who led the modernization and diversification of the Port of Tacoma.
On Tuesday afternoon, Washington State Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Roger Millar will talk about the renewed emphasis on highway worker safety and using social media to remind and educate drivers to slow down in work zones.
Other topics on Tuesday and Wednesday include several presentations on future-oriented transportation proposals from both the private and public sectors. On Tuesday, former Gov. Christine Gregoire will brief the commission on the transportation elements of Challenge Seattle, an effort spearheaded by businesses in the region to ensure continued growth and well-being in the Seattle area. And on Wednesday, representatives of the Washington Business Alliance will detail their ideas for leveraging public-private partnerships to improve transportation in the state.
The commission also will hear from Sound Transit and Metro about their long-range plans, from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission about new ways to reduce deaths and serious injuries on highways, and from the Puget Sound Regional Council’s task force about long-range transportation funding recommendations.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/