OLYMPIA – The Washington State Transportation Commission is reviewing several tolling items during meetings Dec. 12 and 13. Topics include a two-year review of the I-405 Express Toll Lanes, initial consideration of traffic and revenue analysis for the State Route 99 tunnel under Seattle and options to maintain current toll rates on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
The meetings start at 9a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 12 and Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. These meetings are open to the public. Those wishing to speak to the commission can during public comment periods after key agenda items during the meetings.
On Dec. 12, the Washington State Department of Transportation Toll Division will present initial traffic and toll revenue projections for the tunnel replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct portion of SR 99. The Washington State Legislature has directed that tolls raise $200 million toward project construction costs over time. Although the commission will not adopt toll rates until fall 2018, the data will be used to determine how toll rates will vary by time of day to manage congestion on the facility and impacts on surface streets.
Two additional toll facilities are also on the agenda Dec. 12. at 1 p.m., WSDOT will report on the performance of the I-405 Express Toll Lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood, which have been in operation for two full years. The briefing will include data regarding use of the I-405 Express Toll Lanes, changes in corridor congestion, net revenue collected and results of a survey of public reaction and attitudes. Officials from two of the transit agencies using the lanes will report on their travel times and ridership before and after ETL implementation.
The Tuesday, Dec. 12 meeting concludes with an update on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge financial plan, followed by a report from a work group the commission led to assess options for providing long-term toll payer relief for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The work group recommendations will be delivered to the legislature in January 2018.
During the Dec. 13 meeting, the commission will hear a progress report on planning for the Road Usage Charge Pilot Project prior to launch early in 2018. A road usage charge (RUC) 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. A RUC may provide a more sustainable funding source for transportation infrastructure, in light of growing fuel efficiency of new vehicles, which consume less gas. The pilot project will engage 2,000 volunteers from across the state to test the concept and shape how it might work.
The Dec. 13 meeting agenda also includes a report from WSDOT on the work it is doing to prepare for connected and autonomous vehicles in the state.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/.