Gig Harbor residents will have one more opportunity to voice their opinions as the Washington State Transportation Commission holds a final rate hearing for the upcoming toll increase for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Monday.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at on May 21. The commission said it plans to take action immediately afterward to adopt new toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (TNB).
Here are the proposed toll rates to take effect July 1, 2012:
- $4 Good to Go!
- $5 cash
- $7 pay by mail
The commission is required by law to set toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in an amount that is sufficient to pay debt payments, maintenance, preservation and operations of the bridge.
Because the TNB was financed with an escalating debt structure to minimize the initial impact on bridge users, debt payments rise over time and require additional toll revenue. In the 2007-09 biennium the state paid $41 million in debt payments, but in the current 2011-2013 biennium debt payments for the bridge reach nearly $90 million.
The commission evaluates several factors during the toll-setting process, including bridge expenses that are paid for by toll revenue, trends in traffic volumes, the schedule for bond payments, ending balances in the toll revenue account, the rate recommendations from the Citizen Advisory Committee and public input.
The commission held two public input meetings on its proposal last month in Port Orchard and Gig Harbor.
For more information about the commission, visit the Transportation Commission’s website at: http://www.wstc.wa.gov/