Toll rates and policies for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the future I-405 express toll lanes will be among the topics for discussion at the Washington State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week in Olympia.
The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 18 and 19, 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 a briefing on Washington State Ferries’ work toward retrofitting the six Issaquah Class ferries to use liquefied natural gas as a source of fuel. Pending U.S. Coast Guard approval and funding, WSF could begin the first conversion of an Issaquah Class ferry as early as 2016. The commission also will hear about the Lean management reforms and resulting efficiencies undertaken by the Transportation Improvement Board, a state agency that distributes and manages street construction and maintenance grants to cities and urban counties throughout the state.
On Tuesday afternoon, the commission will receive a briefing on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s proposed long-range transportation plan update for the region, which is out for public comment and review until March 10. The commission also will receive a briefing on the National Freight Advisory Committee from Karen Schmidt, executive director of the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board and the only member of the national committee from the Pacific Northwest. The NFAC is developing national freight policy and a strategic framework for freight movement.
On Wednesday, the commission will be briefed on the latest research on seismic hazards in Washington and the implications for transportation planning and projects. It also will receive a report evaluating the feasibility of merging the tolling and ferries customer service centers.
The commission also will receive recommendations from Washington State Department of Transportation and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee on whether a planned 25-cent toll increase is sufficient to meet financial obligations. This rate increase was adopted by the commission last year, subject to review this winter, and is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2014.
The commission will continue its discussion of toll rates and policies for the I-405 express toll lanes, currently under construction between Bellevue and Lynnwood. The project is the first phase of a planned 40-mile-long express toll lane system that will ultimately connect to the existing SR 167 HOT lanes and run from Lynnwood to Puyallup.
For more information about the Commission and complete meeting agendas, visit the Transportation Commission’s Web site at: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/