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Rep. Jan Angel Introduces Measure to Prevent Toll Increases on Tacoma Narrows Bridge

The bill would create a Tacoma Narrows toll bridge account in the motor vehicle fund of the state treasury to receive deposits from revenues like toll charges and investment interest.

Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, has introduced a measure that would maintain the current price of tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge until financing for the structure is completely re-paid. The bill would allow tolls to be maintained, but not increased, until such time as all loans and debt are paid on the bridge.

“I’ve been looking for ways to keep toll rates from rising and satisfy the state’s responsibility to repay the debt on the Narrows Bridge. The tolls were deferred early in the project, which later resulted in higher increases. And now, this week, the state Transportation Commission received a recommendation from the bridge’s citizen advisory committee that it should raise tolls again by 25 cents in July. Under the current financing structure, tolls would likely go up every single year, and we don’t know where the high end of this is going to be,” said Angel, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee. “Our local commuters cannot afford future annual toll increases. My goal with this legislation would be to maintain the tolls we have and avoid yearly increases.”

Tolls are currently $4 for electronic collection, $5 at the toll booths, and $6 for pay-by-mail. 

The bill would create a Tacoma Narrows toll bridge account in the motor vehicle fund of the state treasury to receive deposits of toll charges, investment interest, proceeds from the sale of surplus real property acquired for building the second bridge, and any other revenues associated with the bridge.

Money from the account could only be used to repay the financing of the bridge, as well as costs involved with the direct financing, operation, maintenance, management and necessary repairs of the structure.

The measure would cap the yearly amount of debt service repayment from the toll bridge account to $60 million. Any additional debt service costs would be covered by a loan from the state’s motor vehicle excise account. Angel said the state would continue tolling on the bridge until the loan is paid in full, but toll charges would not increase.

“This is like extending a home mortgage. If you have a fifteen-year mortgage and you don’t want that payment to go up because of different escrow costs, you could extend that mortgage out to twenty or twenty-five years, but keep the payment the same.” noted Angel, a former Realtor and banker. “Under this plan, the tolls remain unchanged, but continue until the costs of the second bridge are paid off.”

The measure was submitted late Thursday, but had not yet been assigned a bill number. The 26th District lawmaker expects the legislation would likely be referred to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.

Related:

WTC Favors Increasing Narrows Bridge Toll 25 Cents Each Of Next Two Years, Report Says

Could Nathan Schlicher's Bill Save Tacoma Narrows Bridge Users From Toll Hike This Year? (VIDEO)

Citizen Advisory Committee to Discuss New Toll Rates for Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Harborite February 22, 2013 at 06:09 PM
You go girl :o)
Debi Garren February 23, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Thanks Jan! Keep up the good fight. We on the Gig Harbor side of the bridge back you all the way.
Joseph February 23, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Way to go Jan...you are a light on this side of the bridge. Why do so much of our tax dollars go into the general fund? Just say no to new gas taxes!!
BRUCE JOHNSTON February 23, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Well done, Jan! I'm so glad that we have you in Olympia!
Paul Thorpe February 24, 2013 at 01:29 AM
Good job Jan. Please take the next step and cancel the sales tax bill on the bridge. Sales tax on transportation projects is simply a transfer of transportation funds to the General Fund.
Mark Hoppen February 24, 2013 at 02:14 AM
A first-tier idea. Thank you, Rep. Angel, for a thoughtful, assertive legislative initiative. I appreciate the attempt whether it succeeds or not.
Cheri Johnson February 24, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Good Job, Jan. Hope you can get the support needed for your measure. The funding of this bridge has felt all along like a bait and switch project. Of course tolls should only be used for paying off the bridge and direct expenses. It should not be a source of state funding for other projects nor for state overhead.

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