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Weigh-in on SR 520 bridge toll rate proposal

KTKO AM1380
Published:2016-04-19 State
Weigh-in on SR 520 bridge toll rate proposal    Print Snohomish Times    
Weigh-in on SR 520 bridge toll rate proposal

People who are interested in State Route 520 bridge tolls are invited to share their views on a proposal to raise rates by 5 percent this July. The Washington State Transportation Commission is hosting two public meetings on Thursday, April 21, in Seattle and Bellevue to gather public input.
Each meeting will start with an open house where information will be provided about the toll rate proposal as well as the SR 520 project, and Transportation Commissioners, along with Washington State Department of Transportation staff, will be present to answer questions. Details on the public meetings are as follows:
• Seattle: Thursday, April 21
Open House: 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Public Meeting: 12 – 2 p.m.
Union Station, Sound Transit Board Room
401 S Jackson St., Seattle
• Bellevue: Thursday, April 21
Open House: 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Public Meeting: 6 – 8 p.m.
Bellevue City Hall, Council Chambers
450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue

Persons who are unable to attend the public meetings can also submit written comments on the proposal until Tuesday, May 10:
• Email: transc@wstc.wa.gov
• Mail: WSTC, PO Box 47308, Olympia, WA, 98504
The WSTC will hold a final hearing where they will act on the rate changes, at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, during its meeting at the WSDOT Headquarters Building, 310 Maple Park Ave., Olympia.

The commission’s SR 520 toll rate proposal is as follows:
• Weekday and weekend toll rates would increase 5 percent on July 1, 2016, and 5 percent on July 1, 2017. These annual 5 percent increases would equate to weekday, peak period tolls increasing 20 cents each year. That means, the current weekday, peak period toll rate would go from $3.90 to $4.10 in 2016 and to $4.30 in 2017.
• Nighttime tolling (11 p.m. – 5 a.m.) would begin on July 1, 2017, at a flat rate of $1.25.

While the WSTC is proposing rate changes for two years, it will assess traffic performance and revenue collections in early 2017, before the second increase goes into effect on July 1, 2017, to ensure it is both needed and sufficient.

The new SR 520 bridge is required to generate $1.2 billion in toll revenue to cover a portion of the structure’s cost. Though long-term financial planning originally called for an approximate 15 percent increase in toll rates in 2016, the commission, in cooperation with Washington State Department of Transportation leadership, determined that a much more modest increase would be sufficient to meet financial requirements.

The commission placed a high priority on keeping the toll rates as low as possible, for as long as possible, given expected construction disruptions on the west side of the bridge in the coming years as WSDOT works to deliver improvement projects between the bridge and Interstate 5.




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