OLYMPIA– The Washington State Transportation Commission will meet next Tuesday and Wednesday in Olympia. At the two-day meeting, the commission will review and approve two reports requested by the legislature – one related to public-private partnerships and the other on regional priority transportation projects. The commission will also hear from the Governor’s Office on proposed Washington State Ferries (WSF) reforms and budget reductions.
The meeting will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 18 and 19, at the Transportation Building on the Capital Campus, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE in Olympia at 9 a.m. each day. The meeting on Wednesday will adjourn at 3 p.m. so that the commission can travel to Gig Harbor to host its first public meeting on their proposal to implement photo tolling on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
At the direction of the legislature, the commission worked with the Department of Transportation’s public-private partnerships program over the last year reviewing non-toll related public- private partnership practices across the state. The purpose of the study was to identify ways that could improve, as well as better facilitate, public-private partnerships for non-toll related transportation projects. The final report will be sent to the legislature this month following commission action next week.
Over the last year, the commission has worked with metropolitan and regional transportation planning organizations in collecting priority transportation project lists from each of the regions across the state as part of a bigger effort to identify unfunded statewide transportation needs. Based upon information gathered, the priority transportation needs identified by the regional organizations totals nearly $9 billion, with an additional need of $12 billion identified just for the central Puget Sound (PSRC boundaries). The effort has culminated in a report containing the project information along with recommendations from the commission, which will be transmitted to the Legislature this month following commission action next week.
The commission will be briefed on Governor Gregoire’s recently released proposal to change the current ferry governance structure by transferring the ferry system to a newly created regional ferry district made up of Puget Sound counties, who would fund and operate the ferry system. An overview of the Governor’s Transportation budget will also be given, which proposes reduced ferry service, and increased fares.
Other items on the commission agenda include an update on the SR 520 Project, an overview of the Washington State Strategic Highway Safety Plan, and a briefing on applications for compressed natural gas in transportation.
To learn more about the Transportation Commission and to see the full agenda, visit their website at: www.wstc.wa.gov.