Submitted by Sen. Steve O’Ban’s Office
The Senate Wednesday night passed a bill that would solve the problem of escalating tolls on the Tacoma Narrow Bridge by freezing them at a fixed rate and then borrowing funds to cover the amount necessary to pay any difference between toll revenue and rising debt service until the bonds are fully paid off.
HB 2990 would use transportation funds to cover costs of future increases to debt payments, keeping toll rates flat instead of rising, as expected, to cover escalating debt payments and operating costs.
“I sponsored this legislation to stabilize and keep from increasing Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls until the bonds are fully paid off,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place. “A vote against was a vote to let tolls rise up to $8 or more, according to a recent DOT study. I am grateful that every Pierce County senator and House member supported the bill, with one exception.”
If enacted, this bill would authorize a series of biennial loans totaling approximately $85 million to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge account for fiscal biennia 2019-21 through 2029-31. With this bill, it is expected that the toll rate will remain flat for Good To Go! users at $5.25. The east end of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is located in O’Ban’s district.
HB 2990 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 97-1 and the Senate by a vote of 47-1. It now goes to the governor for his signature.