Interstate 405 toll lanes, ferries topic of Olympia meetings July 19, 20

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    405Two items of interest for commuters when the Washington State Transportation Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, July 19 and 20. Emergency rules adopted in March for the Interstate 405 express toll lanes hours of operation will become permanent, and the commission will hear the results of surveys conducted to assess the performance of Washington State Ferries and attitudes of ferry riders.

    The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. both days at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. S.E., on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during public comment periods at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday and at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. Public comment on the I-405 express toll lane changes will be heard at 1 p.m. Tuesday, prior to commission action.

    Tuesday’s meeting begins with an overview of toll and rate setting by other agencies in-state and across the country, followed by a presentation on travel trends in the rapidly growing central Puget Sound region.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the commission is scheduled to finalize a rule change to open the I-405 express toll lanes to all drivers on evenings and weekends. The express lanes opened in September 2015, and require that drivers pay a toll to access the HOV lanes. Toll rates adjust depending on traffic, and drivers pay the rate they see upon entering the lanes.

    Other tolling topics on Tuesday and Wednesday include reports on overall I-405 express toll lane performance, the State Route 167 HOT Lane extension project, and preliminary work on tolling the State Route 99 tunnel in Seattle.

    Also Tuesday afternoon, the results of three ferry-related surveys will be presented. Members of the Ferry Riders Opinion Group (FROG) and the Voice of Washington State (VOWS) survey panels were surveyed earlier this year on: WSF performance during the winter season; statewide attitudes on WSF; and freight movers’ use of WSF.

    The purpose of the surveys is to better understand travel behavior, satisfaction with WSF performance on key attributes, and statewide opinions regarding key issues currently facing the state ferry system. Approximately 9,500 people participated in the surveys this year.

    On Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Transportation will present the final draft of the State Aviation Plan, and the Port of Seattle will update the commission on its expansion plans for Sea-Tac International Airport. The nation’s fastest-growing major airport in 2015, Sea-Tac is developing plans to increase capacity, including more gates and terminal space and restructuring passenger pick-up and drop-off.

    For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov

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