Transportation Commission this week to discuss free ferry travel for kids

An early ferry boat arrives in Edmonds. (File photo)

The Washington State Transportation Commission will begin work to implement free Washington State Ferries passage for people 18 and younger as well as a fall reduction of Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates during its May meetings.

Both of these measures were passed by the state Legislature earlier this year and the commission will now begin the process to implement the changes during its monthly two-day meeting on Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both days. Due to limitations related to COVID-19, this meeting will be virtual using Zoom. People interested in attending can register on the Commission’s website.TVW will broadcast the meeting live.

Highlights of Tuesday’s presentations include:

  • Tolling Performance and Financial Update. An overview of current traffic and revenue performance of all tolled facilities will be provided.
  • Autonomous Vehicle Workgroup. An update of the workgroup’s upcoming activities for 2022 will be provided, along with an overview of a possible autonomous vehicle pilot proposal to test last-mile and transit connections.
  • Road Usage Charge. An update of current research and an overview of upcoming RUC pilots later this year will be provided.
  • Columbia River I-5 Bridge Replacement Project. A review of the program’s progress to date, including the locally preferred design alternative will be provided.

Highlights of Wednesday’s presentations include:

  • Sen. Marko Liias and Rep. Jake Fey. The chairs of the state Senate and House Transportation committees will discuss the results of the 2022 Legislative Session and their historic Move Ahead Washington funding package.
  • Washington State Ferries 18 and Under Passengers Ride Free Policy. The financial and operational analysis for carrying out this new program will be reviewed. The commission also will discuss next steps and the schedule for implementing it by this fall.
  • Tacoma Narrows Bridge Toll Rate Reduction. A review of financial considerations will be provided along with discussing how to apply the toll rate reduction. An overview of next steps and the schedule for the rate adjustment process will also be provided.

The commission will take public comment at 11:55 a.m. Wednesday, May 18. Those wishing to speak can sign up during the meeting by posting their name in the Q&A box on-screen. Written comments can also be submitted via email at transc@wstc.wa.gov.

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

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