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Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates to be discussed at this week's meeting
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Transportation Commission will discuss toll rates and policies for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge at its meeting next week in Olympia.
The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 21 and 22, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol 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 period scheduled at the end of each day.
Tuesday’s agenda begins with briefings on two studies recently completed by the Joint Transportation Committee. One study examined opportunities for efficiencies in constructing and operating state transportation projects and the other explored whether Tacoma Narrows Bridge debt could be refinanced.
On Tuesday afternoon, the commission will hear how additional transit information can simplify car-free travel, and learn about programs to invest in bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The commission also will discuss high occupancy vehicle and express toll lane policies with the Federal Highway Administration and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which operates toll facilities and HOV lanes in the San Francisco Bay area.
On Wednesday, the commission will receive financial, traffic and revenue updates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. In 2013, the commission adopted a two-year toll rate increase for the bridge. The 25-cent increase, effective July 1of each year, was intended to raise enough revenue to pay scheduled debt payments and operating costs. The 2014 increase is contingent on review of updated traffic and revenue data by the commission and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee. The committee will submit its toll rate recommendation to the commission in March.
On Wednesday afternoon, the commission turns its attention to ferry operations. Following a briefing on Washington State Ferries performance report for fiscal year 2013, the commission will discuss the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group survey plans for 2014.