Washington State Transportation Commission adopts recommendations on road usage charging
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
Commission recommends a gradual approach to adoption; recommendations now move on to the legislature
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Transportation Commission adopted recommendations today, Tuesday, Dec. 17, on how Washington can begin a transition away from the state gas tax and toward a road usage charge system.
The commission based its recommendations on extensive research, statewide public engagement, as well detailed analysis of the participant feedback and system performance of the 12-month Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project. These recommendations, along with the Road Usage Charge Steering Committee’s final report, will be transmitted to the Washington State Legislature, Governor Jay Inslee and the Federal Highway Administration in January 2020.
At the core of these recommendations, the Legislature is encouraged to begin a slow and gradual transition away from the gas tax, starting with requiring vehicles in the state-owned fleet to pay a road usage charge in lieu of the gas tax. The commission also recommends applying a road usage charge to electric vehicle owners who pay no gas tax and hybrid vehicle owners who pay little gas tax. The recommendations include taking the time during this gradual transition period to conduct additional research, such as collaborating with other states on cross-border travel, reducing administrative and operational costs, and assessing compliance gaps and potential enforcement measures. The commission did not offer a timeline for a full transition of all vehicles in the state to a road usage charge, recommending that should not occur for at least 10 years and likely several decades as many cars continue to pay the gas tax.
“This is an important first step in ensuring future funding security for Washington’s aging roads and bridges,” said Jerry Litt, chair of the Washington State Transportation Commission. “Revenues from our state gas tax will begin to decline as vehicle fuel efficiency continues to increase. We are already struggling to ensure adequate funding to maintain our system of roads and bridges today. Thanks to the pilot project and years of research, we believe road usage charging is a promising and viable option for the Legislature to consider, and now is the time to begin a gradual but necessary transition away from relying on the consumption of fossil fuel to fund our roads.”
A 29-member Road Usage Charge Steering Committee has guided Washington’s assessment of road usage charging since 2012. The committee supported and advised development of the pilot test drive and prepared its final report on road usage charging in Washington earlier this year. Based upon the findings of the steering committee, the commission determined its final set of recommendations and their final report to be issued in January 2020 will detail the results of the seven-year-long assessment of road usage charging. It includes the 12-month-long test drive portion of the pilot project that included over 2,000 statewide drivers driving 15 million miles from February 2018 to January 2019.
“We appreciate the time and effort our pilot project participants dedicated, through reporting their miles driven, completing surveys, participating in focus groups, and sharing thoughtful questions and comments with us.” said Joe Tortorelli, chair of the Road Usage Charge Steering Committee and member of the Washington State Transportation Commission. “Feedback from participants and members of the general public helped inform the final report and recommendations. We look forward to sharing this report with the legislature early next year.”
As vehicles become more fuel-efficient or switch to electric power, gas tax revenue is expected to decline by as much as 45 percent by 2035. In 2012, the Legislature directed the commission to assess the potential of a road usage charge to replace the gas tax. A road usage charge is a per-mile charge drivers would pay for the use of the roads, as opposed to paying by the gallon of gas.
Transportation Commission to recommend next steps on road usage charging to Legislature
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Transportation Commission will take action next week on policy recommendations to the Washington State Legislature on whether and when the state should consider implementing a Road Usage Charge (RUC) system as a possible replacement to the gas tax.
The commission meeting starts at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. The meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during public comment periods each day, including a public comment opportunity prior to commission action on its road usage charging recommendations.
The commission will take final action at 1 p.m. Tuesday on its findings and recommendations related to whether and when a RUC system could replace the gas tax to fund roads and bridges. A RUC is a per-mile charge drivers would pay for the use of roads, as opposed to paying by the gallon of gas. Because gasoline is taxed by the gallon, as vehicles become more fuel-efficient or switch to electric power, gas tax revenue is expected to decline by as much as 45 percent by 2035. In 2012, the Legislature directed the commission to assess the potential of a RUC to replace the gas tax.
The final RUC report will detail the results of a 7-year-long assessment of road usage charging and a pilot project that involved more than 2,000 drivers statewide in a live test of RUC. The commission will consider the work of the RUC steering committee, results and findings from the test-driving phase of the pilot project, input from the pilot participants, and input from the public, as they finalize recommendations and next steps. The commission will submit the report to the governor, Legislature and the Federal Highway Administration in January 2020.
Also on Tuesday, the commission will receive an update on current traffic and revenue data for all tolled facilities, including the State Route 99 tunnel. Commission staff will present an overview of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge loan report, which the commission will submit to the Legislature in January, indicating the amount of loan needed to avoid a toll rate increase next year. The commission also will discuss the work plan and schedule for a legislatively directed study it will conduct to assess the possibility of discounted tolls and other programs to assist low-income drivers.
Commissioners also will hear the findings and recommendations from the lead consultant who conducted an analysis of congestion pricing in downtown Seattle. Congestion pricing is a charge drivers pay when they enter the most congested areas at the busiest times. Commissioned by the transportation network company Uber, the study considered whether charging all drivers could be an alternative to direct taxes or licensing limitations imposed on transportation network companies.
Tuesday afternoon the commission will continue its ongoing examination of the policy issues related to vehicle automation. John Niles, co-author of a book on autonomous vehicles, will discuss the potential effects on communities and public safety of shifting 50 percent or more of today’s privately owned and human-operated vehicles to automated vehicles.
On Wednesday, the commission will take action to adopt its annual report to the Legislature, which includes a number of recommendations on transportation policy and funding. Commissioners also will hear briefings on policy topics including, development of Vision 2050, the Puget Sound Regional Council’s newest long-range plan; an update to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s state plan for passenger and freight rail; and, a study underway by WSDOT’s aviation division to evaluate the potential for using electric aircraft in passenger air service.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/
Manson receives "Change for Charities" funds from Mill Bay Casino
- Written by Janice Stewart
Manson School District was the lucky recipient of the “Change for Charities” program sponsored through 12 Tribes Colville Casinos.
ASB President Parker Schoenwald, Superintendent Matt Charlton and Middle/High School Principal Heather Ireland were presented with a check from Tony Posey, General Manager of Mill Bay Casino in the amount of $2,658.71.
This donation will be used with the intention to help students to participate in extra-curricular, clubs, field trips/camps etc. where fees or equipment might prevent them from doing so. These funds will be available for student’s kindergarten through 12th grade.
Thank you Mill Bay Casino!
Leffler Field purchase public meetings
- Written by Norm Manly
Google Street View Photo
The Manson Community’s long running effort to secure a parcel of land, commonly known as Leffler Field, for public use is a step closer to occurring. The five acre (4.97) parcel is located in the center of downtown Manson.
On November 26, a vacant land purchase and sale agreement was completed between the Estate of Edna R. Leffler and two buyers, the Manson Park and Recreation District and the Manson School District. The purchase price is $1.3 million. The agreement includes grant funding awarded to Manson Park and Recreation from both Chelan County and The State of Washington. Chelan County has designated $500,000 in funding from their Rural Counties Economic Fund. The Washington State Legislature has appropriated $250,000 towards the acquisition from its 2019-20 Capital Budget. The remaining $550,000 will be financed by Manson School District.
December Opportunities for the Manson community to give input to both Boards on the purchase.
· December 12 at 5:00PM at the Manson Parks Building: a joint meeting of the Manson Park and Recreation Board and the Manson School Board will be held with an opportunity for public comment.
· December 19th at 5:00PM in the Manson Elementary Library: the Manson School Board will offer a second opportunity for public comment at their regular December board meeting.
· Written comments may be shared by:
§ Must include a full name and phone number to verify authenticity · Manson Park and Recreation District – PO Box 590, Manson, WA 98831
· Manson School District – PO Box A, Manson, WA 98831
§ Must include a full name and phone number to verify authenticity
SR 20 North Cascades Highway, between Diablo and Mazama, closing to vehicles until 2020
- Written by Lauren Loebsack, WSDOT communication
reopen the highway to bicycles, vehicles next spring
Washington State Department of Transportation crews close this stretch of SR 20 every year once snow fills the avalanche chutes that line the highway, which poses a safety risk to travelers and road crews.
Road closure points
The closure points are at milepost 134/Ross Dam Trailhead and at milepost 177/Silver Star Gate. When significant snow begins to fall, WSDOT crews will move the western closure point back to milepost 130/Colonial Creek Campground and the eastern closure point to milepost 168/Early Winters Campground. These weather-dependent changes usually happen in January. Signs along SR 20 are posted in advance of the closure point and updates on the WSDOT website will reflect where the road is closed.
Winter recreation on SR 20
Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationalists can access the closed portion of highway during the winter season. Users should park in designated parking areas to allow plow drivers the space they need to clear snow around the closed stretch’s access gates.
WSDOT closes this stretch of highway due to avalanche risk, so anyone using this area should check forecasts and be aware of quickly changing conditions in the mountains. Travelers can also check conditions with North Cascades National Park before trips to this area.
In late winter/spring 2020, WSDOT avalanche and maintenance crews, including Mazama the Avalanche Rescue Goat, will assess conditions and begin clearing work to reopen this cross-state route through the Cascade Mountains.
Manson Parks Regular Board Meeting 12-12-19
- Written by Robin Pittman
Regular Board Meeting
142 Pedoi Street, Bumgarner Building, December 12, 2019, 4:10pm
I. Call to order
II. Flag salute
III. Agenda additions and deletions
IV. Approval of Minutes
a. November 14, 2019 regular meeting minutes
b. December 3, 2019 special meeting minutes
V. Financial Review
a. Review monthly financial report
b. Review and approve monthly voucher
VI. Old Business
a. Singleton Park playground renovation
i. Authorize purchase of playground equipment
b. 2020 Budget
i. Wages and benefits
c. Concession permit request
d. Director’s Report
VII. New Business
a. Winter marine sewage pump-out
b. Marina policy update: “out day” options
c. Old Mill policy update: detached trailers
VIII. 5:00pm: Joint Board meeting with Manson School District Board
a. Leffler Field acquisition
i. Public Comment
Next Regular Meeting: January 9, 2019 at 4:10pm, 142 Pedoi Street, Manson, WA 98831
Chelan Fire and Rescue Commissioners Meeting 12-11-19
- Written by Carol A. Kibler, Administrative Office Manager, Chelan Fire and Rescue
Proposed Chelan Fire and Rescue agenda pending Board approval.
Regular Meeting Call to Order:
Oath of Office: Karyl Oules
Revenue and Expenditure Report: October 2019 Revenue & Expenditure Report
Payroll: $117,931.44 November 1-30, 2019 Paid: 12-05-2019
Vouchers for November 1-30, 2019 General Account: Vouchers #19222 – 19236 for $6,770.58; Vouchers #19238 – 19251 for $9,638.71; Vouchers #746099 – 746110 for $4,311.78; Vouchers #746111 – 746117 for $10,974.81.
Vouchers for November 1-30, 2019 Capital Account: Vouchers #19237 for $5,069.17; Voucher #17104 - 17105 for $5,682.39.
Minutes: November 20, 2019
Fire Chief Report:
2019 Budget / Emergency Response Report /Operations/ Community Risk Reduction
Assistant Chief Report:
Firefighters Association Report:
Professional Service Contract for Legal Services
12-17-2019 Holiday Gathering – Layla’s 1800-2100
Board for Volunteer Firefighters
Manson Parks Special Board Meeting 12-3-19
- Written by Robin Pittman
Special Board Meeting
142 Pedoi Street, Bumgarner Building, December 3, 2019, 4:10pm
I. Call to order
II. Flag salute
III. Approval of Resolution 2019-04, authorizing an increase in the regular 2020 property tax levy
IV. Leffler property earnest money agreement
Adopt-A-Tree and give a gift to the future
- Written by Herb Sargo
Lake Chelan Christmas™ joins the CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON™ Concert Series
- Written by christmasinwashington.com
Lake Chelan Tourist Center presents its Second Annual "Lake Chelan Christmas" with The Gothard Sisters Celtic Christmas on Friday December 13th 2019 and Geoffrey Castle's Celtic Christmas on Friday December 20th 2019.
His Second Year in the Lake Chelan Valley, legendary electric violinist Geoffrey Castle brings the Christmas magic with this dazzling concert, featuring the Seattle Irish Dance Company, The Geoffrey Castle Celtic Band, and known Irish troublemaker and Tenor, Dan Connolly. This year's special guests, Seattle Opera’s own Pamela Cassela-Nim & Veronica Nim, and even a visit all the way from the North Pole by the Chief Elf himself and his wife - Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus.
Now in its 14th year, Geoffrey Castle's Celtic Christmas Celebration has become a Northwest Holiday Tradition, bringing communities together to celebrate the magic and mystery of the season, with an Irish flair for fun!
Geoffrey Castle is a living legend on the electric six-string violin. His performance history includes playing music with members of supergroups like Heart, Queen, Journey, Bad Company, YES, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Blues Traveler, the Pogues, and the Neville Brothers, while releasing 12 albums on his own independent label and touring and performing all over the world.
The Seattle Irish Dancers are the only professional performance Irish Dance Company in the Pacific Northwest. They've performed with musicians from around the world - Gaelic Storm, The Chieftains, and Celtica Pipes Rock - to name just a few. They perform often with Geoffrey Castle and are excited to come back to the Lake Chelan Valley.
This year Lake Chelan Christmas™ adds a second Concert, The Gothard Sisters Celtic Christmas. Christmas with the Gothard Sisters is a special holiday program featuring Celtic tunes and songs as well as the sisters' joyful and sincere arrangements of Christmas carols old and new. This familyfriendly show includes sibling harmony, Irish step dancing, the sisters' signature humor and heart, and even a Christmas Eve disaster story.
The Gothard Sisters are a dynamic musical group of three sisters who play contemporary Celtic music. Through 10 years performing, touring and writing music together, the optimistic style of their music and performances continue to resonate with their fans, building a loyal international following. Their latest all-original album release, Midnight Sun, reached #6 on the Billboard World Music charts as the highest ranking debut on the chart, and the Gothard Sisters have performed in venues large and small all over the country, including a concert at the Kennedy Center's Millennium stage in Washington DC, performances with Disney Cruise line in Europe, a 21-city concert tour of Japan in 2019, music festivals and performing arts venues nationwide. Blending Celtic, folk, classical, world and northwest musical influences, the Gothard Sisters bring songs to life with violin, acoustic guitar, mandolin, bodhran, djembe, octave violin, whistle and vocal harmonies, creating music that is "vivid, inspirational and captivating." (Tim Carroll, Folk Words Review 2018)
Writing and recording near their home in the Pacific Northwest between touring nationally, the band has released 7 albums and has performed over 1,000 live shows over the course of their career These productions are brought to the Lake Chelan Valley by the Lake Chelan Tourist Center in is efforts of creating Family Friendly Community Events & Entertainment. This Year Lake Chelan Christmas™ is part of the CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON™ Concert Series providing Christmas Concerts in Lake Chelan, Leavenworth, Ellensburg, Moses Lake and Omak. Pre-Concert and Intermission Entertainment provided by the Official CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON™ Celtic Bagpiper David Wilkie.
Proceeds from these Concerts benefit various Lake Chelan Community Events & Student Programs and the CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON™ Scholarship Fund, now benefiting Chelan High School Graduates.
CHELAN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (PAC)
215 Webster Ave Chelan WA 98816
DATES / TIMES:
THE GOTHARD SISTERS CELTIC CHRISTMAS / DECEMBER 13th 2019 / FRIDAY NIGHT (7pm - 9pm)
GEOFFREY CASTLES CELTIC CHRISTMAS / DECEMBER 20th 2019 / FRIDAY NIGHT (7pm - 9pm)
Box Office Opens at 5:00pm
Doors Open at 6:00pm
Refreshments available for purchase before the Concert and during Intermission as a Fundraiser for the Chelan High School Drama Department.
ORDER TICKETS BY PHONE
CALL ETIX # 1-800-514-3849
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT:
Damascus Rose Floral
311 E Woodin Ave
LODGING & VIP TICKET PACKAGES
Lakeside Lodge & Suites – Chelan TEL (509) 740-3372
Full Details and Online Tickets at:
CHRISTMAS IN WASHINGTON INFO LINE
Tel (509) 682-9150