A toll-rate proposal for the Interstate 405/State Route 167 corridor for early 2024 will be selected during the Washington State Transportation Commission’s Dec. 12-13 virtual meeting in Olympia. Commissioners will also hear about efforts to reduce traffic fatalities and increase safety on our roadways, as well as receive a briefing on efforts to increase transportation equity in underserved communities.
The public is invited to attend the virtual meeting, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13 on zoom. The meeting will also be streamed live on TVW. Those wishing to attend the meeting virtually may register for the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions on the commission’s website. Public comment is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13. For those unable to attend the meeting virtually, the commission will offer online viewing accommodation in its office building at 2404 Chandler Court SW, Olympia, WA, 98502. Written comments can be submitted by email to email@example.com.
The commission on Tuesday will hear updates on traffic safety and work underway on several fronts to curb the upward trend of fatalities on Washington’s roadways. Presenters from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington State Department of Licensing and WSDOT will share initiatives to decrease road fatalities, which reached a 20-year high in the state in 2022.
A panel of speakers on Tuesday will discuss federal and state investments and initiatives to improve transportation equity for disadvantaged communities and overcome the effects of pollution, including through planning tools that address climate change, energy efficiency, transit, housing and transportation. The commission will also hear from transportation and policy experts who previously participated in a roundtable on transportation resiliency about how the state can ensure a reliable transportation system for all as it works toward electrification and decarbonization.
On Wednesday, commissioners will select a proposal for rate adjustments on the I-405 express toll lanes and SR 167 high occupancy toll lanes. Options under consideration would raise the minimum toll rates on both facilities to $1. One option would raise the maximum toll rate on both facilities to $12, and the other would raise it to $15. After selecting their preferred option, commissioners will open a public comment period with opportunities for the public to weigh in via the commission’s website, by email and during a public hearing expected in late January. The new rates are expected to be implemented in March 2024.
Other topics to be covered at the December meeting include:
- Preparing for zutonomous vehicles (AVs): The Autonomous Vehicle Work Group will brief commissioners on its work, which is in its final year after carrying out five years of research and outreach. The commission will also review final recommendations to the Legislature and governor on how the state should prepare for the operation of AVs on public roads.
- Autonomous vehicle testing in Seattle: Also on Tuesday, Seattle officials will present an update on the zutonomous vehicle permit program and testing activities happening in the city.
- Revenue forecast update: On Wednesday, commissioners will hear about the latest state transportation revenue forecasts, with a focus on toll and ferry fare revenues.