Transportation Commission discusses tolling, road usage charging and Public/Private Partnerships, Jan. 17 and 18
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – Several tolling items, including future tolling for the State Route 99 tunnel in Seattle, are on the agenda for next week’s Transportation Commission meeting in Olympia.
The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Wednesday, Jan. 17, and Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
On Wednesday, the commission will kick off the next update of the statewide transportation plan with a briefing on the suggested focus for the next plan. Commissioners also will discuss the public review and input process that will take place during 2018. The Washington Transportation Plan establishes a 20-year direction for the statewide transportation system, based on six transportation policy goals established by the Legislature related to: preservation, safety, mobility, environment, stewardship, and economic vitality.
Tolling items fill out the rest of Wednesday’s agenda. The Legislature has directed the Transportation Commission to adopt tolls to generate $200 million towards the construction cost of the tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. At 1 p.m., the City of Seattle, King County Metro and the Northwest Seaport Alliance will share their priorities and concerns with prospective toll policies and rates. This input will inform the commission’s toll rate and policy proposal, which it will release in spring for public review and input. Tolls will be adopted in fall 2018 and will vary by time of day to manage congestion on the facility and impacts on surface streets.
In addition, commission and Washington State Department of Transportation staff will present recommended system-wide changes to toll policies and rules with the intent of greater consistency across all tolled facilities. Proposed changes will focus on toll exemptions, and if advanced, the proposed changes will be released in spring for public review and input before changes would be adopted. The commission also will discuss proposed changes to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge policy requiring maintenance of a sufficient minimum balance in the bridge’s account. Action by the commission on this policy is expected.
On Thursday, the commission will get a progress report on preparations for the upcoming launch of the statewide Road Usage Charge Pilot Project. A road usage charge (RUC) is a per-mile charge drivers would pay for the use of the roads, rather than paying by the gallon of gas. The RUC would be a replacement to the gas tax to provide a more sustainable, long-term funding source for transportation infrastructure, in light of growing fuel efficiency of new vehicles. The pilot project will have 2,000 volunteers from across the state testing four different ways to pay by the mile. It will run for the next 12 months to determine how the RUC works for drivers under various conditions and travel behaviors.
Thursday’s agenda also includes a legislative preview of 2018 priorities from city, county, port and transit partners, along with a report from WSDOT on its work exploring partnerships with the private sector that would potentially aid in the funding and financing of ferry terminal facilities, transit-oriented development, and the possible replacement of the US 2 westbound trestle in Snohomish County.
This commission meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during several public comment periods throughout the two-day meeting.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/
Manson FFA Ag Mechanics team competes at Cashmere
- Written by Manson FFA
The Manson FFA Ag mechanics team consisting of Cody Amsden, Ben Charlton, Eduardo Escalera, Bailey Cameron, Blake Cochran and Jonathan Morales, recently showed of their welding and shop skills at Cashmere High School who hosted a contest for central WA schools.
The schools competing where Manson, Chelan, Wenatchee, Cashmere and Omak. Students had to sharpen a drill bit, complete a gas butt weld, along with a vertical Lap weld, and gas cut a ½ piece of mild steel. In arc welding they did a butt weld along with a vertical up lap weld. Finishing off with able to Id 10 small gas engines parts. Results were not available at this time.
Manson FFA competes at State Apple Judging
- Written by Manson FFA
The Manson FFA apple judging team consisting of Cody Fitzpatrick, Henry Armstrong, Blake Cochran, Marcos Diaz, and Nadia Tejada, traveled to Kennewick to participate in the state FFA Apple Judging CDE.
It was an early morning start meeting at the high school at 5am for the 3 ½ drive to Kennewick.
There were 127 competitors, with Blake Cochran placing 28th in the individual. The team placed 11th overall out of 28 teams, missing the top ten by a mere 1 ½ points.
The contest consisted of 25 questions out of the private applicator pesticide manual, judging two sets of trays: one red delicious and one granny Smith, figuring maturity date from full bloom, showing the proper way to pressure test, grading 25 golden Delicious, 25 Red delicious Apples, Identifying 25 variety of apples and Pears, identifying 25 insects and 50 blemish on the Apples.
The team was excited about their placing and look forward to next year.
Sheriff patrols lead to warrant suspect arrests
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 01/05/17 at approximately 9:43 AM a Douglas County Deputy on routine patrol in Rock Island spotted a vehicle in the BJ’s truck stop. A vehicle license check revealed that an associated person had warrants. As the vehicle left the parking lot, the Deputy stopped it and contacted the driver, 28 year old Jason Blomquist of Wenatchee. He was found to be driving on a suspended license. He also had a felony DOC warrant. He was arrested and booked without incident.
On 01/05/18 at approximately 3:00 PM a Douglas County Deputy on routine patrol spotted a male in the Mansfield School Parking lot. The Deputy knew the individual to have previous arrests. He ran the subject’s name and found he had a warrant for his arrest. The subject, identified as 40 year old Lester Haney of Mansfield, was arrested and booked without incident.
On 01/09/17 at approximately 4:40 AM a Douglas County Deputy on routine patrol in Bridgeport, WA stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. The passenger in the car matched a person known to have warrants. The Deputy confirmed the warrants and attempted to take the person into custody. The person tried to shed his coat saying it belonged to someone else. He struggled with the Deputy who then handcuffed him. In the coat pocket he found a baggy filled with a substance he suspected to be methamphetamine. The subject, 34 year old Olegario Duran of Bridgeport, was arrested and booked for possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor warrant.
Three escape raging house fire
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 01/05/18 at approximately 6:33 AM a Douglas County Deputy responded to the 400 Blk. of Hwy 173. Fire units were engaged in fighting a house fire. When the Deputy arrived, he saw the home was fully engulfed in flames.
There had been three residents inside the home. An adult male, Michael (Pat) McFadden, an adult female, Taralee Martin, and her eight year old son. All had escaped.
Ms. Martin told the Deputy she had awakened to rumbling sound in the house. She opened her bedroom door and saw flames in the hallway. She woke up Mr. McFadden. He quickly got up, ran into the eight year old’s room, scooped up the child, and fled down the hallway, through the flames, and out an exterior door. Ms. Martin was able to escape out a window. The Deputy reported the home appeared to be a total loss.
Mr. McFadden and the eight year old boy were transported to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster. Ms. Martin had singed hair but no apparent injuries. Mr. McFadden and the eight year old boy sustained burns, but their current condition is unknown.
Mr. McFadden is the basketball coach at Bridgeport High School. The community can be proud of this couple’s quick actions in the face of this life threatening event.
Lake Chelan Winterfest Begins This Weekend
- Written by Olivia Plew, LCCC
• 3-7pm: Horse Carriage Rides**
• 3-7pm: Kids Activities**
• 3-10pm: Ice Bar** presented by North Cascades Bank
• 5-9pm: The Bottle Shop
• 5-9pm: Wine Tasting Tent presented by Zipfizz
• 5-10pm: Live Music
• 5-10pm: Live Ice Carving
• 6-8pm: Soupfest
• 11am-6pm: Live Ice Carving
• 12-6pm: Grand Wine Walk presented by Zipfizz
• 12-6pm: Wine Tasting Tent presented by Zipfizz
• 12-6pm: Horse Carriage Rides**
• 12-6pm: Kids Activities**
• 12-8pm: The Bottle Shop
• 12-10pm: Ice Bar** presented by North Cascades Bank
• 3-10pm: Live Music
• 6-8pm: Snowga at Lake Chelan Municipal Golf Course
• 6pm: Grand Procession
• 6:30pm: Polar Bear Splash & Beach Bonfire
• 6:45pm: Fireworks presented by K & L Homes
• 11am-1pm: Bubble Bar Sparking Wine Brunch
Manson Couple Leaves a Lasting Legacy
- Written by Janice Stewart
Many of us have pondered what influence our lives will have on future generations. Long time Manson residents, Ted and Nicki Leffler, quietly took steps to insure they could positively impact future generations in the communities they loved. In 1993, they created a charitable trust to be equally distributed to three school districts: Chester High School in Chester, Montana (Nicki’s school); Maries County Belle High School in Belle, Missouri (Ted’s school) and Manson High School in Manson, Washington. Upon Ted’s death in 2003 and Nicki’s passing in 2016, the trust funds were transferred to the successor trustee named in the original trust, Superintendent of Manson School District.
The Leffler’s generous actions twenty-five years ago resulted in the development of scholarship trust funds in all three school districts with each receiving more than $200,000 in trust funds. These endowment funds are to be held in “perpetuity” and used for graduating high school seniors from each district with only the interest/earnings on the principle amount to be used each year. In doing so, the original trust amount will stay intact and students one hundred years from now will still benefit.
Manson School District is working with family member Heidi Leffler (daughter) to create the Ted and Nicki Leffler Memorial Scholarship. We’ve learned Ted Leffler had several careers in a variety of fields, but a majority of his work centered on electrical power infrastructure. His career took him from Missouri to Montana (where he met and married Nicki) to Oregon, Idaho, California and even New York. He took great pride in his work and was an innovator in his field. Ted is credited with being one of the first to utilize helicopters to string powerlines and he estimated he had a hand in stringing 60% of the Northwest’s power grid. It’s clear Ted understood the value of skilled labor; Manson’s scholarships will encourage students pursuing post-high school careers or technical training/education to apply.
Scholarship applications will be posted in January and a committee comprised of Manson community members will select winner(s) who will be announced at the June 5th 2018 Senior Awards Ceremony.
Two arrested for robbery of Cole's Corner coffee stand
- Written by Chief Jason Reinfeld, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 at approximately 12:42 PM a barista at the Little Red’s coffee stand near Cole’s Corner reported a robbery. She said a suspicious male subject walked by the coffee stand window. She locked the door and watched him walk to a tan GMC Yukon with no front license plate. The driver of the Yukon appeared to be a female but had a hoodie sweatshirt tightened to where she could only see her eyes.
The barista started to text a co-worker about the situation when she heard a knock on the window. The male was back at the window wearing a black bandana. He said he had a gun and demanded the money from the till. She gave him the bills from the till totaling approximately $150 to $200 and then ran into the office to call 911.
Soon after the incident was reported, a Washington State Department of Transportation employee reported seeing the vehicle westbound from Cole’s Corner. The suspect vehicle was stopped just west of the Steven’s Pass Summit by a Chelan County Deputy and a King County Deputy who were working in the area.
The female driver, a 25 year old Langley resident and the male passenger, a 29 year old Everett resident were both taken into custody and booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center for Robbery 1st Degree and Theft 3rd Degree. The vehicle was seized and a search warrant was served on it December 27th. A firearm was not located on either suspect or in the vehicle. Clothing matching the suspect description was located in the vehicle and $220 cash was found in a hiding spot in the vehicle.
Man who brought gun to Bridgeport school picked up in Los Angeles
- Written by Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal
On 12/20/17 A Douglas County Deputy and a Chelan County Correctional Officer flew to Los Angeles to pick up 25 year old Armondo Morales-Cervantes of Bridgeport from the Los Angeles County Jail. He was booked at the Okanogan County Jail without any incident.
Morales-Cervantes had been arrested at the Bridgeport School on 10/19/17 for making threats to kill and for bringing a firearm onto the school grounds at Bridgeport High School. He had been released and had been on the lam for about four months before being picked up by LAPD officers on a nationwide non-extraditable warrant.
Rebounding economy continues to put more drivers on state highways
- Written by Sreenath Gangula, WSDOT multimodal mobility and traffic engineer
OLYMPIA – As unemployment in Washington state approaches pre-recession levels, more drivers hit the road in 2016, and again followed the lead of the local economy.
Between 2014 and 2016, commuters in urban areas throughout Washington saw increases in congestion and delay, due largely to the effects of drivers traveling more miles on already-crowded urban highways. The number of miles drivers traveled on state highways increased 6.4 percent from 2014 to 2016 (to a new high of 34.227 billion), according to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s 2017 Multimodal Corridor Capacity Report.
In addition, 3.2 percent more passenger vehicles registered in 2016 than in 2014. During the same period, the number of licensed drivers increased by 4.3 percent. All these factors combined to add more drivers to Washington state’s already busy roadways.
The number of people riding transit during daily peak periods increased 8 percent on urban commute corridors, from 88,150 in 2014 to 95,300 in 2016. As an example, transit moved 4.5 general-purpose lanes full of cars—equivalent to 52,887 people–on I-5 between Federal Way and Everett during morning and evening peak periods on average weekdays.
Other highlights from the 2017 Report include:
- Of the five monitored freeway corridors in the central Puget Sound region, three (I-5, I-405, I-90) saw congestion increases of 76 percent, 33 percent and 117 percent, respectively, from 2014 to 2016. Tolling and carpooling reduced congestion on SR 520 by 61 percent, while congestion on SR 167 experienced a 4 percent increase compared to 2007 pre-recession levels.
- Travel times are lower and person throughput is higher in High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes as opposed to the general-purpose lanes. An example of this is the HOV lane on I-5 at Northgate where travel times were up to 10 minutes more reliable and the movement of people was about 2.5 times higher than in the adjacent general-purpose lanes in 2016.
- HOV lanes accounted for 42 percent of person miles traveled on central Puget Sound region freeways in 2016 while accounting for 24 percent of the region’s lane miles.
- WSDOT Incident Response teams responded to 25.4 percent more incidents (58,235 total) in 2016 than in 2014, with average clearance times around 12 minutes for both years. Proactive work by Incident Response teams resulted in $88 million in economic benefit in 2016, an 18.1 percent increase from 2014.
- WSDOT Ferries annual ridership increased 4 percent from 23.2 million in 2014 to 24.2 million in 2016.
- Amtrak Cascades annual ridership increased 5 percent from approximately 700,000 in 2014 to 735,000 in 2016.
To learn more about WSDOT’s performance or to review the 2017 Corridor Capacity Report, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Accountability/.