OLYMPIA – Briefings on the new federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, transportation topics in the 2016 legislative session, and proposals for naming the next Olympic Class ferry will be discussed when the State Transportation Commission meets next week in Olympia.
The meeting starts at 9 a.m. both Tuesday, Jan. 12, and Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the Transportation Building, 310 Maple Park Ave. SE, on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. This meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The commission will learn about a proposed National Freight Strategic Plan and freight measures included in the FAST Act on Tuesday morning. Dan Mathis, division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration and Rick Krochalis, regional administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, will provide a more thorough overview of the FAST Act Tuesday afternoon. Enacted by Congress and signed by President Obama in December, the FAST Act will provide an estimated $4.8 billion for highways and transit in Washington state during the next five years.
The commission will hear from advocates of three possible ferry names under consideration for the fourth Olympic Class ferry. The commission conducted a name search in 2014, as work began on the third 144-car ferry, and that search resulted in four eligible name proposals coming forward. The commission selected the name “Chimacum” for that ferry and decided to select from among the remaining names for the new ferry scheduled to begin construction this spring: Cowlitz, Sammamish, and Suquamish. Sheriff Mark Nelson of Cowlitz County and Mike Iyall, Vice Chair of the Cowlitz Tribal Council; Councilman Don Gerend, City of Sammamish; and Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe will make name presentations next week, and following input from the public and ferry communities, the commission will make its final name selection at the March 15 and 16 meeting in Olympia.
Tuesday’s agenda includes a discussion of 2016 legislative expectations with representatives of cities, counties, ports and transit agencies. Commissioners will also be briefed on public transportation initiatives, and provided an overview of the state’s multi-agency approach to removing fish passage barriers. On Wednesday, the commission will dig into land use and transportation connections, and receive updates on toll rate scenarios for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as well as a briefing on the first three months of express toll lane operations on Interstate 405.
For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit: www.wstc.wa.gov/