OLYMPIA – Several transportation organizations representing cities, counties, ports, and transit will discuss their priorities for the 2019 legislative session with the Transportation Commission at its meeting next week in Olympia. Other meeting highlights include a briefing on two proposed toll projects on interstates in the Portland area, plans for an upcoming review of ferry fares, and a presentation from a company that helps communities understand travel behavior and patterns by using diverse data sets.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Wednesday, Jan. 23, and Thursday, Jan. 24, 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 several public comment periods throughout the meeting (see agenda for detail).
Wednesday’s meeting begins with a legislative preview from cities, counties, ports, and transit organizations. The Washington State Department of Transportation will follow this briefing with a presentation on the agency’s legislative and budget priorities. The commission is tasked with providing transportation policy recommendations to the Legislature and Governor, and these briefings keep the commission apprised of emerging priorities for all levels of government with transportation responsibilities.
Also on Wednesday, the commission and Washington State Ferries staff will provide an overview of a proposed ferry fare-adjustment process that will begin this spring. This process includes working with ferry-served communities to help inform the commission’s fare-setting decision making that will occur in July 2019, setting fares for the next two years (2019-2021). The commission will consider a new approach this year that will seek input from ferry riders and communities earlier in the fare-setting process, before a fare proposal is released.
On Wednesday afternoon, the commission will learn about the Oregon Transportation Commission’s request to the Federal Highway Administration to allow tolling on portions of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in the Portland area. The Oregon Department of Transportation will provide a briefing of the process, the tolling options reviewed, what it is proposing, and the next steps. Washington’s commission is interested in learning more about Oregon’s approach to tolling and its potential effect on Washington’s commuters and businesses.
Following this briefing, WSDOT will report on the financial plan for the State Route 520 bridge and report on the first three-years of Interstate 405 express toll lane operations. WSDOT also will brief the commission on the status of completing the express toll lane system on I-405 from Bellevue south to Renton, and the existing State Route 167 high occupancy toll lanes.
Wednesday’s meeting concludes with a report on the results of the summer 2018 survey of the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group survey panel. Along with on-board interviews, the survey evaluated the performance of the ferry system during the summer months and assessed the attitudes of summer ferry riders, including those who ride for recreational purposes.
On Thursday, UrbanLogiq will brief the commission on how analysis of big data from multiple sources can help communities understand travel behavior and trends. This tool can help cities better manage traffic and improve transportation planning. The commission also will hear about the 2019 legislative and policy initiatives of three state agencies that provide transportation grants to improve mobility in cities, counties, and for freight movement.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/