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Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates and ferry operations to be discussed at next Transportation Commission meeting

The Washington State Transportation Commission will discuss toll rates and policies for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and state ferry operations at its meeting next week in Olympia.

The meeting starts 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 21 and 22, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. Officials said the meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period scheduled at the end of each day.

Tuesday’s agenda begins with briefings on two studies recently completed by the Joint Transportation Committee; one examined opportunities for efficiencies in constructing and operating state transportation projects and the other explored whether Tacoma Narrows Bridge debt could be refinanced.

On Wednesday, the commission will receive financial, traffic and revenue updates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Last year, the commission adopted a two-year toll rate increase for the bridge. The 25-cent increase, effective July 1 of each year, was intended to raise enough revenue to pay scheduled debt payments and operating costs.

The 2014 increase is contingent on review of updated traffic and revenue data by the commission and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Citizen Advisory Committee. The committee will submit its toll rate recommendation to the commission in March.

On Wednesday afternoon, the commission will turn its attention to ferry operations. Following a briefing on Washington State Ferries performance report for fiscal year 2013, the commission will discuss the Ferry Riders’ Opinion Group survey plans for 2014.For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit www.wstc.wa.gov.

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