Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For Whom the Bridge Tolls

Here's a little light reading to follow up on:

Imposition of Tolls (E2SHB 1773)

This legislation establishes the statewide framework for imposing tolls. The bill has passed the Senate and is expected to receive concurrence in the House.

Financing the 520 Bridge Replacement Project (ESHB 3096)

The "520 Bridge Bill" passed the Senate and is expected to receive concurrence in the House. The 520 Bridge Bill establishes an SR 520 finance plan. The SR 520 finance plan must include certain assumptions, including savings from early construction of certain on-site project elements, early construction of a single string of pontoons, and preconstruction tolling. An SR 520 tolling implementation committee (Committee) is formed, consisting of three members, one each from the Puget Sound Regional Council, the Department, and the State Transportation Commission.

The committee must evaluate various issues relating to the SR 520 bridge replacement project, including traffic diversion to other state and local roads, tolling technology, partnership opportunities, and also must survey citizens about the project. The committee must confer with mayors and city councils from cities located along the SR 520, SR 522 & Interstate 90 corridors. A report is due from the committee to the Governor and Legislature by January 2009. The Department may seek approval from the Legislature to begin tolling on the existing SR 520 bridge and its replacement only after the committee has submitted its report.

Eliminating Regional Transportation Investment Districts (RTID) (SB 6771)

This bill had a striking amendment in the House Transportation Committee. The striking amendment establishes a study to determine the merits of continuing or changing the structure of an RTID. AWC is skeptical the bill will pass the House. If it does pass, it is unlikely the Senate will accept the proposed striking amendment.

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