- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – There’s good news for drivers who use the State Route 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The Washington State Transportation Commission recently voted to suspend a planned 50-cent toll rate increase on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, scheduled to take effect July 1, 2016.
The largest annual cost for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is the debt service payment. The law requires debt service payments, along with other costs like maintenance, operations and insurance, be paid with toll revenues. The 30-year debt service schedule has payments going up every one or two years. Historically, traffic volumes have not increased at the pace necessary to meet these growing debt obligations. As a result, since July 2012, bridge users have experienced annual toll increases.
But some toll relief has arrived this year. The Washington State Legislature provided $2.5 million in gas tax revenues to pay for the bridge’s debt service payments coming due between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. This means the 50-cent toll increase planned for this July is no longer needed thanks to the state’s investment. Toll rates are now scheduled to remain at current levels through June 30, 2017.
WSTC’s Chairman Anne Haley was pleased with the Legislature’s decision to provide funding for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge debt service payments. “This investment made by the Legislature brings a much needed break to the annual toll rate increases on the bridge. The commission is committed to working with Legislative leaders, the TNB Citizen Advisory Committee, and the Washington State Department of Transportation to determine long-term options that may bring toll rate stability to the drivers of this bridge,” said Haley.
The commission will hold a final hearing to reflect in the administrative code the rate suspension decision. The hearing will start 1 p.m. May 17, at WSDOT’s headquarters building, 310 Maple Park Ave SE, in Olympia.
To learn more about the commission, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/
- Written by Paul Parker, WSTC Deputy Director
OLYMPIA - The Washington State Transportation Commission chose “Suquamish” as the name of the state’s fourth Olympic-class ferry at its meeting Wednesday, March 16.
The selection follows a public process in which the commission considered three eligible names – Cowlitz, Sammamish, and Suquamish – and sought input from Washington State Ferries, the Ferry Advisory Committee Executive Council, ferry riders and the general public.
“The Suquamish have a rich cultural and maritime history in the Salish Sea with their ancestral heartland encompassing the north end of Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula to Indian Island, the Kitsap Peninsula, and both sides of Admiralty Inlet to the Tacoma Narrows in the south,” said Commission Chairman Anne Haley. “It is fitting to name this vessel Suquamish since nearly all the contemporary Washington State Ferry System routes traverse historically documented Suquamish canoe travel corridors.”
The commission has guidelines that help determine the eligibility of a name proposal:
- Names for ferries should carry statewide significance and represent our state’s image and culture.
- Specifically, names should represent such things as: state adopted symbols, tribal names, names of bodies of water, geographic locations, cities, counties, relate to nautical heritage, etc.
- Consideration will be given to the consistency with existing Washington State Ferries fleet names.
- Names should have broad familiarity, are non‐offensive, and meet ethical standards.
- Names with commercial overtones or names honoring or commemorating individuals should be avoided, but will be considered upon very careful review.
Many of the 23 vessels in Washington State Ferries’ fleet have names reflecting the state’s tribal, geographic and historic heritage. The most recently named vessels – Chimacum, Samish and Tokitae – are in keeping with that tradition.
For more information on the Transportation Commission, visit its website: www.wstc.wa.gov
- Written by Reema Griffith, WSTC executive director
OLYMPIA – The State Transportation Commission will revise hours of operation for Interstate 405 express toll lanes and propose 2016 toll rate changes for the State Route 520 bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge when it meets next week in Olympia. The commission also will name the next Olympic Class ferry.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 16, 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 the tolling discussions on Tuesday afternoon and during the public comment period at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the commission will consider the latest performance data on the I-405 express toll and general purpose lanes, and take action requested by the Legislature to change the hours of operation of the toll lanes. The commission also will discuss and determine needed changes to toll rates for the SR 520 bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to ensure the state meets financial and debt requirements.
Following a briefing from financial consultants on several options that are designed to increase toll revenue by 10 percent over several years, the commission will move forward with one SR 520 toll rate proposal, on which it will seek public comment in April. The commission in 2015 adopted a 50 cent toll increase for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, scheduled take effect July 1, 2016. But, thanks to higher than forecasted bridge traffic and a $2.5 million appropriation from the Legislature, current toll levels will be able to remain in place for one more year, through June 30, 2017.
On Wednesday, the commission will name the fourth Olympic Class ferry scheduled to begin construction this spring, selecting from among the names: Cowlitz, Sammamish and Suquamish.
The commission also will hear a briefing on federal and state requirements for minority and women’s contracting, and current state efforts to improve contracting opportunities for minority and women owned businesses. The commission also will learn about the schedule for updating the operational strategies and long-range plan for Washington State Ferries. Operational strategies developed by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the commission are used to guide future investment decisions and fare policies.
- Written by Mark Urdahl, Executive Director
Port of Chelan County Board of Commissioners
Special Meeting of March 9, 2016
Port of Chelan County Partners with Our Valley What’s Next
Port of Chelan County Commissioners approved a $10,000 contribution toward the Our Valley What’s Next program, led by Alan Walker’s United Way. Port of Chelan County representatives sit on many of work groups in the program and believe some strategies formed may fall under Port Authority for Economic Development.
Port of Chelan County to Provide Match for Olds Station Connection to the Loop Trail.
Port of Chelan County Commissioners approved a matching contribution of $15,000 toward the WSDOT Grant Application to fund construction of a bicycle and pedestrian path south of US 2 near the Olds Station Business Park. If the grant is approved, the path will connect Easy St. to the Apple Capital Loop Trail.
- Written by Gregory Kennedy
The Board of Commissioners of the Port of Chelan County will meet in special session on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 beginning at 10:30 am. Special meeting items include the consideration of a contribution to “Our Valley What’s Next”, the consideration of a letter of support and commitment of matching funds to a WDOT grant proposal, the consent agenda, and an executive session. This meeting will be held in the conference room at the Port of Chelan County located at 238 Olds Station Rd. Suite A, Wenatchee, WA 98801. The special meeting agenda is below.
For more information, please contact: Mark Urdahl, Executive Director
NOTE: Regularly scheduled meeting agendas are subject to change. The Commission reserves the right to move agenda items as
needed, even during the meeting. Port of Chelan County Commission meeting agendas and minutes are available on the port website: www.portofchelancounty.com
Commission Meeting Agenda March 9, 2016
PORT OF CHELAN COUNTY
Board of Commissioners Special Meeting Agenda
238 Olds Station Road, Suite A, Wenatchee, WA 98801 March 9, 2016
Open Pangborn Memorial Airport Governing Board meeting
PANGBORN MEMORIAL AIRPORT GOVERNING BOARD
A. Minutes of the February 18, 2016 regularly scheduled meeting.
B. Resolution No. 2016-03 Voiding Warrant 1680 & 19298
A. Our Valley What’s Next
B. WDOT Grant Proposal
A. Discuss Real Estate Transactions
- Written by Dan Davis, WSDOT
OLYMPIA – Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews performed more than 2.6 million hours of work in 2015 without getting a single environmental notice. That’s roughly the equivalent of a two-man crew working every hour of every day since Alaska was purchased in 1867 and never once impacting the environment.
WSDOT recently published its quarterly performance and accountability report, the Gray Notebook (pdf 3.7mb). In addition to environmental compliance, the report takes a closer look at the data and the stories behind pavement conditions and whether they are improving, how commute trip reduction is reducing costs for drivers, and how drought conditions impacted Grain Train carloads in eastern Washington.
Highlights from these Gray Notebook articles include:
- WSDOT’s preservation backlog for pavement past due for rehabilitation declined by 10 percent between 2013 and 2014 due to strategic preservation activities (page 11)
- Employees at worksites with Commute Trip Reduction programs are leaving approximately 14,500 cars at home every day (page 22)
- Washington Grain Train carloads decreased from 1,974 in 2014 to 1,815 in 2015, a decline of 8.1 percent (page 34)
To learn more about WSDOT’s performance or to review Gray Notebook 60 or its condensed Lite version, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Accountability/.
- Written by Wai Peterson
Regular Board Meeting
142 Pedoi St., Bumgarner Building, March 10th, 2016, 4:00pm
I. Call to Order
II. Flag Salute
III. Agenda Deletions and Additions
IV. Public Comment/Questions
V. Approval of Minutes
a. Minutes of the February 11th, 2016 Regular Meeting
b. Minutes of the February 23rd 2016 Special Meeting
VI. Financial Review
a. Review Monthly Financial Reports
b. Review and Approve Monthly Voucher
VII. Old Business
a. Director’s Report
b. Park Improvements
i. Downtown Waterfront Master Plan
ii. Willow Point
VIII. New Business
a. Project Priorities
IX. Executive Session: Evaluation of District Employee
Next Regular Meeting: April 14th, 2016 at 4:00pm, 142 Pedoi St., Bumgarner Building
- Written by Laura Kingman, WSDOT
- The maximum weight including the carrier is limited to 20 pounds
- Owners can reserve a space for their pet for a $25 fee; limit one pet per passenger
- For the safety and comfort of all passengers, pets must remain in a carrier at all times and carriers must remain on the floor in front of the seat next to the passenger
- The maximum carrier size is 19 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 10.5 inches high
- Five pet spots are allowed per train and are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis
- Written by Wai Peterson
Special Board Meeting
142 Pedoi St., Bumgarner Building, February 23, 2016, 7:00pm
I. Call to Order
II. Flag Salute
III. New Business
a. Willow Point Archaeological Contract
b. Singleton Park Project
Next Regular Meeting: March 10th, 2016 at 4:00pm, 142 Pedoi St., Bumgarner Building
- Written by Christy Shearer, CCPUD
Visitors will see a new playground on opening day
WENATCHEE - Where can you stand in the shadow of a hydro turbine, look for a Geocache, hug 42 kinds of trees, enjoy Mama D’s peanut brittle, visit a museum, and get eye-to-eye with a sockeye? Rocky Reach Dam, of course, and we can’t wait to welcome you for another great season of fun, exploration and education.
The dam will open to the public for its 55th season at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The Visitor Center offers free tours of the powerhouse along with the Museum of the Columbia, plus art displays, a theater and fish viewing.
In 2015, Rocky Reach Dam hosted more than 71,000 visitors and welcomed almost 650 tour groups.
Events planned for this year include:
- May 21 – River Ramble – A hands-on program for all ages offering a full range of events to experience Native American culture
- June 29 through Aug. 10 (Wednesdays) – Summer Science classes for 6th -8th graders
- Sept. 8 – Lady of the Lake Info-Cruise – Chelan PUD staff will talk lake level, habitat, snowpack and fish as we cruise out to Manson Bay and back. Reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522.
- Sept. 10 – Senior Damboree – A fun day of activity and information, focused on senior adults
- Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 – Hard-hat tours at the Lake Chelan Powerhouse – reservations required by calling (509) 663-7522
- Oct. 30 – Harvest Roundup
Guests will enjoy new playground equipment in the Rocky Reach Park this spring. The playground has been modernized with improved toys for all ages, taking better advantage of the park space. It’s also ADA accessible. New equipment includes an enclosed slide, swings, and various climbing equipment. Stop by, check out the new play area, and join us in April for our ribbon cutting ceremony once the finishing touches are complete. Watch our Facebook page for details.
Always popular is the award-winning D3 Tour – a GPS-assisted scavenger hunt where visitors can find the hidden treasures of hydropower on the Columbia River. Anyone who finds all the geocaches at Rocky Reach will get a stamp on a D3 passport and a prize. To complete the challenge and receive a unique patch, “cachers” must fill their passport by finishing the geocache courses at all three dams, including Chief Joseph Dam, near Bridgeport, and Grand Coulee Dam, near Coulee Dam, on the upper Columbia River in Washington State.
Guests need to be sure and sample Mama D’s Kitchen at Rocky Reach. Run by local foodie and baker-extraordinaire, Gina Dugger, guests are welcome from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays with extended hours and weekends April - September. Dugger offers breakfast, lunch and a variety of local canned and baked goods, including gluten-free options.
Other things to do and see at Rocky Reach Visitor Center:
- Museum of the Columbia
- Nez Perce portrait exhibit
- Chelan County PUD dive team exhibit
- And, the self-guided tour of trees on the grounds
Reserve park shelters for birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and family reunions at no cost. The grounds are open until 6 p.m. daily, until May 1, when park hours extend to 9 p.m. Guests can reserve Rocky Reach park shelters by calling (509) 663-7522.
Chelan County PUD welcomes visitors to tour the exhibits and the Museum of the Columbia at their leisure. Staff is on hand to answer questions and provide in-depth tours. To schedule a tour, visit our website, or contact Christina Detering, at (509) 663-7522.
For questions about the Visitor Center, contact Debbie Gallaher, Visitor Services Department manager, at (509) 661-4960.