In response to reduced revenues due to a drop in travel during the pandemic, the Washington State Transportation Commission will conduct a work session next week as it prepares to increase toll rates this summer on the State Route 520 bridge and other tolled facilities. The commission will also host a local meeting virtually with Lakewood area representatives, following the work session. The commission’s local meetings provide community leaders and public officials the opportunity to share insights on their transportation needs, challenges, and successes.
The tolling work session will take place 9:30 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, April 20. The Lakewood local meeting will take place from 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday, and will reconvene on Wednesday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. Due to limitations on the size of gatherings in response to COVID-19, this meeting will be conducted virtually using Zoom Webinar. People interested in attending can register on the commission’s website. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW at www.tvw.org.
Tuesday morning’s tolling work session will start with an update on the Interstate 405/State Route 167 express toll lanes Low-Income Tolling Study. The study is assessing the effects of tolling on low-income drivers of the I-405/SR 167 express toll lanes. A final report of findings and recommendations is due to the Legislature by June 30, 2021.
Staff from the Washington State Department of Transportation will provide an update on the traffic and revenue performance of the state’s tolled facilities for January through March 2021 and will provide an overview of the state’s latest transportation revenue forecast released in March. The morning session will conclude with a presentation and discussion on preparations for an expected toll rate increase on the SR 520 bridge, considering possible toll rate scenarios, and next steps in the process going forward.
Tuesday afternoon, the commission will shift its focus to Lakewood and the surrounding area. The Puget Sound Regional Council will present on its regional aviation baseline study, expected to be completed this month. The study assesses the aviation needs in the Puget Sound region and will set the stage for future planning efforts.
Sound Transit will present on rail safety, resumption of service, and safety enhancements along the Point Defiance Bypass, and will provide an overview of its South Sound expansion plans. The City of Lakewood will provide information on its transportation improvement investments and give an update of a study underway that looks at ways to increase multimodal connectivity along the I-5 corridor. Joint Base Lewis McChord will discuss its unique transportation needs: serving approximately 290,000 military service members, civilian workers, family members, and military retirees; and moving personnel and equipment for training and deployments.
On Wednesday, a multijurisdictional panel will provide information on efforts to plan for the replacement of the I-5 bridge across the Nisqually Delta, balancing transportation needs, environmental concerns, and treaty rights. Following this, staff from the Nisqually Tribe will brief the commission on its transportation project needs and efforts.
Finally, a series of speakers will address transportation equity and disparities in Pierce County and provide information on various efforts and programs aimed at addressing service needs of under-represented communities.
Questions or comments from the public can be submitted during the meeting by using the “Q&A” function found on-screen during the virtual meeting. As time allows, questions will be addressed during the meeting. Written public comment can also be submitted via email until 4 p.m. the day before the meeting. Comments should be sent to email@example.com. Written comments received after this deadline will be provided to commissioners after the meeting.
All presentations will be available on the commission’s website. For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/meetings/
For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/