OLYMPIA – At its Dec.13 and 14 meetings, the Washington State Transportation Commission will discuss results from a survey which asked Washington residents how they feel about the transportation system, what their priorities are, and how they think we should pay for growing needs. The survey’s initial findings were presented in November to the Governor’s Connecting Washington Task Force.
Other items on the Commission’s December agenda include briefings and updates on State Route 520 tolling, the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Project, Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolling, and an update on the I-405 Traffic and Revenue Study.
The meetings will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 13 and 14, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE in Olympia. The meeting is open to the public and those wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Tuesday agenda begins with a status update on SR 520 tolling, followed by a report on the Columbia River Crossing project, which includes an overview of a recent project finance report issued by the Oregon State Treasurer. Also on Tuesday, updates will be given on the financial standing of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge as well as several tolling feasibility studies. Finally, Cambridge Systematics will provide a report on their work estimating traffic and revenue levels if I-405 Express Toll Lanes were placed on the entire corridor. The firm was hired by the Commission to conduct this work, a directive from the 2011Washington State Legislature.
The Wednesday agenda begins with an overview of county and city transportation funding, followed by a discussion of Oregon’s efforts on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) programs. At the end of Wednesday, the results of the Statewide Transportation Survey will be presented.
Key survey findings include:
· When asked if they would support or oppose “raising some transportation taxes and fees,” 59 percent of residents say they would support it. The level of support grows to 62 percent when informed of some of the benefits that would result from additional transportation investments.
· Residents believe investments should go first to maintaining and repairing the existing transportation system, followed by increasing capacity and expanding travel options.
· Six out of ten residents (59 percent) support tolling as a way to pay for major projects.