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Citizen committee discusses summer tolls

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee is keeping a “pretty aggressive” schedule this month and next in order to prepare its recommendations for the new toll rates scheduled to take effect this summer.

Reema Griffith, executive director of the Washington State Transportation Commission, said the CAC would be meeting twice a week for the next two weeks.

“Their ultimate target is to present the recommendations at the March 18 (and 19) meeting commission meeting,” Griffith said.

Last night, the committee met at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, while tomorrow night it will meet at the Peninsula Public Library.

At both meetings, the CAC planned to evaluate the first seven months of tolling operations on the second span of the TNB, and discuss “possible” changes to the toll rates for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

As for what those changes might be, Griffith said there is a “whole array of possibilities,” and that the toll amounts could go up for both transponder users and more infrequent crossers.

“We need to have actual data and get more clarity before we put a formal proposal out there,” she said, explaining that the CAC and commission will be studying both the monthly traffic and revenue reports, along with the state’s Feb. 15 revenue forecast.

Once the CAC submits its recommendation, Griffith said the commission will consider it, then release its proposed toll schedule.

“That is set for April 7, then it goes out for at least a 30-day review period,” she said, explaining that the next step after that is to hold a meeting for collecting public comment on the proposed toll rate schedule.

Griffith said the public review meeting was tentatively scheduled for May 20, and the official hearing to adopt the schedule is planned for the following week.

Individuals who would like to submit comments or questions in writing to the CAC can do so online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Operations/Tolling; or via mail to TNB-CAC, 3214 50th Street Court NW, Building D-302, Gig Harbor, 98335-8583.

Committee members include: Chairman Bob Ryan of Tacoma; Caroline Belleci of University Place; Ted Hilliard of Tracyton; Tracey Hopkins of Gig Harbor; Sonja Morgan of University Place; Jim Pasin of Gig Harbor; Alan Weaver of Gig Harbor and Ron Jones of Gig Harbor.

For more information on state tolling and data on the TNB toll program visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Operations/Tolling.

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