Enumclaw Courier-Herald


Tolling, statewide survey, road usage charges and ferry audit highlight State Transportation Commission’s meeting

January 20, 2013 · Updated 9:00 PM

Tolling plans for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and State Route 520, a report from the State Auditor on ferry construction costs and results from a statewide transportation survey will be discussed at the Washington State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week in Olympia.

The meeting will start 9 a.m. each day, Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 23 and 24, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capital Campus in Olympia. The meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment periods scheduled at 4:45 p.m., Wednesday, and 3:45 p.m., Thursday.

On Wednesday, the commission will take action on a proposed work plan and budget adopted by the Road Usage Charge Steering Committee, a body established by the commission at the direction of the Legislature. The steering committee has been meeting since September 2012 and has determined road usage charges – or charging by the mile of road traveled rather than by the gallon of gas consumed – is feasible and merits further exploration as a possible alternative to the gas tax in the future. This next phase of study would begin to assess the details of how such a transition could work.

The commission will receive updates on the progress of the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel and the Columbia River Crossing – two major facilities for which tolls are proposed – including a progress report from the co-chairs of the SR 99 Advisory Committee on Tolling and Traffic Management. The commission also will discuss toll-rate setting for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the SR 520 floating bridge in the context of possible rate adjustments that would take effect this July.

On Thursday, the commission will be presented with the results of the Voice of Washington State survey. More than 10,000 Washington residents took part in the commission’s statewide transportation survey conducted in December 2012. The VOWS surveys gather public input and data on transportation funding needs and priorities across the state. The results are reported to the Legislature and Governor to inform state decision making.

The commission also will receive a briefing from the State Auditor’s Office regarding its findings on a recently completed audit of Washington State Ferry’s vessel construction program, followed by WSF’s response to the findings.

For more information and complete agendas for both days’ meeting, visit the Washington State Transportation Commission’s website at: www.wstc.wa.gov


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