May 14, 201211:42 AMBlog
Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls almost set
Those interested in toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will have one more opportunity to voice their opinions May 21 in Gig Harbor. The Washington State Transportation Commission will hold the final rate hearing starting at 6 p.m. at Gig Harbor City Hall, 3510 Grandview Street, and will take action immediately afterward to adopt new toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
The commission has proposed the following toll rates to take effect July 1: $4 Good to Go!, $5 cash and $7 pay by mail.
The commission is required by law to set toll rates for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in an amount that is sufficient to pay debt payments, maintenance, preservation and operations of the bridge.
Because the TNB was financed with an escalating debt structure to minimize the initial impact on bridge users, debt payments rise over time and require additional toll revenue. In the 2007-09 biennium the state paid $41 million in debt payments, but in the current 2011-13 biennium debt payments for the bridge reach nearly $90 million.
The commission evaluates several factors during the toll-setting process, including bridge expenses that are paid for by toll revenue, trends in traffic volumes, the schedule for bond payments, ending balances in the toll revenue account, the rate recommendations from the Citizen Advisory Committee and public input.