OLYMPIA –After months of outreach and public input, the state’s next new ferry will be named at the Washington State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week. Topics to be covered at the meeting include a report on initial findings of the commission’s ongoing road usage charge research program, an overview of tolling and ferry service performance, and efforts to increase transportation equity and access.
The two-day meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Tuesday, Dec. 14, and Wednesday, Dec. 15. Due to limitations on the size of gatherings in response to COVID-19, this meeting will be conducted virtually using Zoom Webinar. People interested in attending can register on the commission’s website. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW.
Highlights of Tuesday’s presentations include:
- The future of transit service: A briefing will be provided by Pantonium, a company that has created an artificially intelligent route-optimization software, enabling urban transit services to be more responsive to real-time demands.
- Road Usage Charging (RUC) in Washington and Oregon: Initial findings from the commission’s 2021 RUC research will be reviewed in advance of reporting to the Washington State Legislature. Oregon Department of Transportation staff will provide an update on its RUC program operations and review what future changes might be coming.
- Equity in transportation: Staff will present findings of a University of Washington study on paratransit service during the COVID-19 Pandemic and lessons learned for future application. Disability Rights Washington will share its “Mobility Bill of Rights” and Washington State Department of Transportation staff will provide a briefing on its American Disabilities Act annual report.
On Tuesday, the Commission is expected to take action on two items:
- Naming Washington state’s next new ferry: With the process for building the state’s next new ferry underway – a hybrid-electric Olympic Class 144-car ferry – the commission initiated its process for naming this ferry in July 2021. After months of gathering name proposals and seeking public input on the eligible finalists, the commission will take action to select the new ferry’s name.
- Naming the Tacoma rail station: WSDOT is requesting the commission officially name the rail station in Tacoma the “Tacoma Dome Station.” This station not only serves passenger rail service, but also serves as a mass transit hub connecting various transit providers in one location.
Highlights of Wednesday’s presentations include:
- The latest on tolling: Staff will give updates on performance of all tolled facilities over the last year; a WSDOT assessment of timing and financing approaches for the construction of an expanded express toll lane system on Interstate 405/State Route 167; and an overview of tolling civil penalties and the toll forgiveness program.
- Washington State Ferries Service and Performance Update: A review of WSF’s recently released workforce plan, setting forth a path to address crewing shortages in the near-, mid-, and long-term; and an overview of the most recent forecast for WSF’s future financial performance, considering ongoing service challenges.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov
Free, temporary internet access is available to those who do not have broadband service in locations throughout the state. To find the nearest Drive-In WiFi Hotspot visit: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/.