WA Transportation Commission

A proposal for ferry fare increases will be decided next week in Seattle when the Washington State Transportation Commission meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. The commission will also take up proposals to name two state transportation facilities and will receive briefings on transit needs and programs.

The commission meets 9 a.m. July 30 and 31, in the Ruth Fisher Board Room, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle. The meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment periods scheduled at the close of each day.

A public hearing on proposed ferry fare changes is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 30. The commission has proposed several policy changes and across-the-board fare increases to ensure the state meets the ferry-fare-revenue target set by the Legislature in the recently enacted 2013-2015 transportation budget. In addition to the public hearing on July 30, the commission has received public comments through email and letters and during meetings held in six ferry-served communities earlier this month. Information on the commission’s ferry fare proposal can be found at: www.wstc.wa.gov

On Tuesday morning, the commission will take action to name the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge for Trooper Sean M. O’Connell, Jr., who was struck and killed by a vehicle while directing traffic through detours resulting from the I-5 bridge collapse in May. As requested by the Legislature, the commission also will name the entirety of I-5 from the Canadian border to the Columbia River the “Purple Heart Trail,” in honor of all veterans wounded or killed in action.

Tuesday’s meeting also includes an update on the Puget Sound Regional Council’s long-range transportation plan. In addition, the commission will discuss the next steps of its road usage charge study. Following the commission’s determination that a transition from the gas tax to a road usage charge to pay for transportation infrastructure is feasible, the Legislature directed the commission to develop and evaluate the business case for a road usage charge system. The evaluation, which is due by December 2013, will describe what the system could look like and cost and how it could operate.

On Wednesday, the commission will receive several briefings regarding public transportation services in the Puget Sound region, including the impacts of proposed King County Metro service reductions to businesses and transit users if the Legislature does not authorize additional revenue options. Other topics on Wednesday include briefings by the Washington State Department of Transportation on the toll adjudication program, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel project, and how WSDOT is working to address a recent court decision that requires extensive correction of fish-barrier culverts throughout Western Washington.

For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit the WSTC’s website at: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/