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Public comments sought on proposed toll increase for Tacoma Narrows Bridge; final hearing May 20
GIG HARBOR — Toll customers and other interested persons will have an opportunity to comment one more time before the Washington State Transportation Commission makes a final decision on the proposed toll-rate increase for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The commission is proposing a 25-cent increase in 2013, with an additional 25-cent increase in 2014. The new rates would take effect on July 1 each year.
The final hearing on the proposal is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 20, at the Gig Harbor Civic Center, located at 3510 Grandview Street. The commission will be taking comments from those attending and will be making a final decision on the pending rate adjustment.
In addition to the final hearing, comments can be submitted to the commission in writing via email or mail. All written comments must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, May 17. Email comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments can be mailed to: PO Box 47308, Olympia, WA. 98504-7308.
The proposed toll rates to take effect July 1, 2013, are $4.25 for Good To Go! pass, $5.25 cash and $6.25 Pay By Mail
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/