Thursday, December 05, 2013

Get Ready To Be Taxed For Every Mile You Drive

Road usage charge options and tolling being discussed at Washington State Transportation Commission hearings Dec. 10 and 11

Transportation revenue options are a focus of the Washington State Transportation Commission’s meeting next week in Olympia. The commission is completing an evaluation of the business case for ways to replace the gas tax with a road usage charge system (Read: Vehicle Miles Driven TAX). What this means is you will be charged to drive on roads you've already bought and paid for.

 Commissioners also will hear a SR 520 tolling update and discuss the future Interstate 405 express toll lanes.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. each day, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 10 and 11, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. 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 a continuation of discussions regarding the I-405 express toll lanes rates and policies. The project is currently under construction between Bellevue and Lynnwood and is expected to open in 2015. It is the first phase of a planned 40-mile-long express toll lane system that will ultimately run from Lynnwood to Renton on I-405 and connect to the existing State Route 167 HOT lanes. Local officials representing the I-405 and SR 167 corridor presented their recommendations to the commission in November. 

The commission will host a public input process in early 2014 as they work towards setting the toll rates and policies for the express toll lanes by spring 2014. Unless you want to pay to drive on the roads you already own, make it a point to attend these hearings and make your voice heard.

Tuesday afternoon, staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation will brief the commission on the passage and implementation of Oregon’s new road usage charge legislation. Following this, the commission will consider recommendations developed by a broad-based steering committee for the next steps of Washington’s Road Usage Charge Assessment which has been in progress for over a year. The legislatively directed assessment has looked at the feasibility and the business case for a possible road usage charge system in Washington State that could replace the gas tax in the future. The commission will submit its final report and recommendations to the Legislature in January 2014. 

On Wednesday, Washington State Department of Transportation staff will brief the commission regarding tolling operations, including financial, traffic and revenue updates for the SR 520 Bridge and Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The commission also will receive a briefing on the Results Washington program and WSDOT’s implementation of Lean management.

For more information about the commission and complete meeting agendas, visit: