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State Transportation Commission proposes toll rate increase on Tacoma Narrows Bridge, seeks public input

OLYMPIA — Toll customers and other interested persons will have an opportunity to comment on the Washington State Transportation Commission’s toll-rate proposal for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The commission is proposing a 25-cent increase in 2013 and an additional 25-cent increase in 2014. The proposed toll rates that take effect July 1 are $4.25 for Good To Go!, $5.25 cash and $6.25 pay by mail.

A public input meeting to gather comments on the proposal is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 15, at the Gig Harbor Civic Center located at 3510 Grandview Street. The commission will not take action at this meeting.

A final hearing, where the commission will take additional public comment and plan to take action to adopt new toll rates, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, May 20, at the Gig Harbor Civic Center.

In addition to the public meetings, comments can be submitted to the commission in writing via email or mail. Email comments can be sent to transc@wsdot.wa.gov.Written comments can be mailed to: P.O. Box 47308, Olympia, WA. 98504-7308.

The commission is required by law to set toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in an amount that is sufficient to pay the debt for the bridge, as well as to pay costs related to maintenance, preservation and operations of the bridge.

The bridge was financed with an escalating debt structure to minimize the initial toll rates and impact on bridge users. Debt payments started out low when the bridge opened to traffic in 2007 and are now rising steeply, requiring additional toll revenue each year to pay the escalating obligation. Over the next four fiscal years, debt service payments grow from $45 million in 2013 to $70 million in 2017.

The commission evaluates several factors during the toll-setting process, including bridge expenses that are paid for by toll revenue, trends in traffic volumes, the schedule for bond payments, ending balances in the toll revenue account, the rate recommendations from the governor-appointed Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee and public input.

For more information about the commission, visit www.wstc.wa.gov.

 

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