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TNB group looks at tolling options
Tacoma Narrows Bridge commuters won’t be paying less for the privilege of crossing the span anytime soon, but they could be getting a choice in how those tolls are paid.
Photo tolling and pay-by-mail are among the TNB Citizen Advisory Committee will consider when the group meets to review the proposals and associated rates and fees on Oct. 6 at a public meeting in Gig Harbor.
Pay-by-mail is proposed for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge as part of a conversion to a new statewide customer service center for toll facilities.
Pay-by-mail would allow drivers without Good to Go! transponders on their windshields to bypass the toll booths and receive a bill in the mail.
A photo would be taken of the license plate as the vehicle passes through the Good to Go! electronic toll lanes and then the registered owner of the vehicle would receive a bill in the mail.
State Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) began advocating for such a system last year.
“The cost per transaction is cheapest when collected via the transponders, and most expensive when collected by a person (in the toll booths),” Kilmer said. “And every dollar we save on collecting tolls is a dollar we save the taxpayers (from having to pay on the debt).”
Rep. Jan Angel, however, opposed the system.
“The billing and collection will add another layer of bureaucracy,” she said. “In short, revenue may be lost that the state may later try to collect through higher tolls.”
Currently, drivers without Good to Go! accounts who skip the toll booths are issued a $52 citation.
With the pay-by-mail system, these vehicle owners would have up to 80 days to pay their toll bill before being issued a citation.
In addition, under the new proposals, drivers may have the option to set up a Good To Go! account linked to their license plate rather than a transponder.
An additional transaction fee is proposed to cover the costs associated with processing these transactions.
The Citizen Advisory Committee is a governor-appointed nine-member committee that makes toll rate recommendations to the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Committee members include: Caroline Bellechi, University Place; Melody Griggs, Gig Harbor; Ted Hilliard, Tracyton; Ron Jones, Gig Harbor; Amy Igloi-Matsuno, Port Orchard; Sonja Morgan, Tacoma; Chris Myers, Gig Harbor; Jim Pasin, Gig Harbor; and Alan Weaver, Gig Harbor.
For more information about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/.