OLYMPIA – Tolling topics and plans for a Road Usage Charge pilot project are on the agenda for the State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week in Olympia. The commission also plans to name a section of State Route 507 in honor of an Iraqi war veteran who died in action.
The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. both Tuesday, Oct. 17, and Wednesday, Oct. 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 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, the commission will hear a progress report for the Road Usage Charge pilot project that will launch early in 2018. A road usage charge is a per-mile charge drivers would pay for the use of the roads. It is under consideration as a potential replacement for the gas tax drivers now pay on a gallon of gasoline. In light of growing fuel efficiency of new vehicles, which consume less gas and therefor raise less revenue, it would provide a more sustainable funding source for investments in transportation infrastructure. The pilot project will engage 2,000 volunteers from across the state to test the concept and shape how it might work.
With detailed planning for the pilot project operations well underway, the commission will learn more about current public attitudes toward road usage charging, and progress with volunteer recruitment. Additional discussions will focus on reporting options, activities of other partners in the pilot project, and the draft evaluation plan.
Other briefings on Tuesday include transportation recommendations from the Resilient Washington subcabinet, a proposal to accommodate autonomous vehicles on Interstate 5, and transit agency perspectives on tolling.
In addition, the commission will take action on a proposal initiated by the city of Rainier to name the portion of SR 507 within the community for Sgt. Justin D. Norton. A graduate of Rainier High School, Sgt. Norton was killed in action in 2006 while on patrol in Baghdad.
On Wednesday morning, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Toll Division will report on FY 2017 traffic and revenue for each tolled facility, as well as progress toward meeting legislative benchmarks for toll operations and efficiency.
The meeting will conclude with an update by a commission workgroup formed to assess options for providing long-term, toll-payer relief for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The legislature has asked that the commission deliver its prioritized policy solutions to the legislature by December 2017.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/