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Ferry fares, toll rates and automotive technology on Transportation Commission’s agenda this week

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Revisions to ferry fares, toll rate changes for the State Route 520 floating bridge, and technological challenges facing transportation, including cybersecurity for automobiles, are among the numerous topics the State Transportation Commission will take up during its meeting in Olympia.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 16, and 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 17, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday and noon Wednesday.

Tuesday’s agenda includes briefings on statewide planning for moving freight by truck and rail, the growing emphasis on active transportation such as walking and bicycling, and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s implementation plan for WTP 2035, the state’s long-range transportation plan.

On Tuesday afternoon, innovators and experts in our state will review how technology is changing the way roads are defined and address future challenges for transportation, including:
use of autonomous vehicles;
policy considerations on how cities are “zoned” for autonomous vehicle fleets; and
technology, cybersecurity, and infrastructure considerations for roads in the future.  

Also on Tuesday, the commission begins its work to adjust ferry fares for the 2017-19 timeframe. The commission will hear Washington State Ferries’ policy and fare recommendations for achieving revenue requirements set forth in the legislatively enacted two-year transportation budget.

Ferry fare revenue provides a majority of funding needed for WSF operations. The commission will release its fare change proposal in the coming weeks and will gather public comment on it through mid-July. Final action to adopt new fares and policy changes will take place on Wednesday, July 26, at a commission hearing in Seattle. Any adopted fare changes will take effect on Oct. 1, 2017.    

On Wednesday, the Office of the State Treasurer will inform the commission whether the planned SR 520 toll-rate adjustment taking effect on July 1, 2017, will meet required revenue targets. If the planned rates are certified as adequate, tolls will increase by approximately 5 percent on July 1. The current weekday, peak period toll rate will rise from $4.10 to $4.30. An overnight (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) toll of $1.25 also will take effect. No future toll increases for the SR 520 Bridge are anticipated.

Staff from King County and the city of Seattle will report on work they are doing jointly to better configure traffic and transit flows in downtown Seattle and close-in neighborhoods, and to create more safe and inviting public spaces. This briefing, along with a detailed report from the Washington State Department of Transportation on estimated traffic and revenue to be generated from tolls under various toll scenarios for the SR 99 tunnel, will help inform the commission’s work later this year and next as it sets tolls for the tunnel. The Legislature has directed that toll revenue contribute $200 million toward the cost of the tunnel.

Wednesday’s meeting concludes with an 18-month report on the Interstate 405 Express Toll Lane revenue and operations, including the recent investments to improve traffic flow on all I-405 lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/

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