The in basket: Glen Adrig e-mailed to say, “I’m a bit confused about changes to the Tacoma Narrows and SR 520 Bridge tolls.
“An article in the Kitsap Sun on 3/19/13 said that there would be no toll increases because the toll rates can only be set by the Legislature..and not by the Transportation Commission. Senator Pam Roach spoke at the Transportation Commission’s meeting where they passed the 25-cent toll increase in spite of her telling them that they can’t do so as of March 8.
“Then, 6 days later I received an email from WSDOT Go to Go! which told me of a planned increase on the Tacoma Narrows and 520 Bridge tolls.
It said, ‘The Washington State Transportation Commission is proposing toll rate increases on the Tacoma Narrows and State Route 520 bridges. The commission works with WSDOT to establish toll rates that ensure both bridges generate enough revenue to meet financial obligations.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge proposed rates
The commission is proposing a 25-cent increase to be effective July 1, 2013.’
“So…which is correct ?” Glen asked. “Is there or is there not going to be a toll increase effective July 1?”
The out basket: Annie Johnson of the Good to Go! staff replies, “Sen. Roach’s comments refer to Initiative 1185, which was passed by the voters this past fall. The initiative requires that any new or increased fees be approved by a simple majority of the Legislature.
“According to the Attorney General, tolls are considered a fee and any increase in tolls requires legislative action, which could include delegating the authority to set toll rates back to the commission. The commission’s toll rate proposal includes language stating that the rate increase is subject to the Legislature re-delegating toll rate setting authority back to the commission.”
So what happens July 1 depends on what the lawmakers do before that.