The effort by Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor and Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma to slow toll rates on the Narrows Bridge is moving forward.
House Bill 2990 is a culmination of efforts that began with the 2017-19 transportation budget. In that budget, a workgroup was established to study and provide recommendations on how to best reduce tolls on the bridge, while remaining fiscally responsible to the loan repayments. This workgroup concluded their work during the interim, and this bill is the product of their work and recommendations.
“This is a major win for our district,” said Young. “This bridge is used by thousands of people each day in order to get to and from work, school, and recreational activities. At a time when so many other costs are rising, we need to do all we can to ensure these tolls aren’t adding additional expenses onto our commuters.”
This bill would authorize the Office of the State Treasurer to make state contribution loan transfers to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge account at the beginning of each fiscal biennium. These transfers are to be in amounts necessary to ensure that debt service payments are made in full after toll revenue from the bridge is applied to the debt payment amounts and other required costs of operating the facility.
“This bill provides the stability we need for both communities on the east and west side of the bridge,” said Fey. “I really appreciate the efforts of Rep. Young to work with me to come up with a solution.”
“It’s a real fix that will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on everyday commuters,” noted Young. “Not only does this stop the tolls from going up until 2022, this will provide a consistent rate and stop the tolls from continually rising indefinitely. This is more than a $100 million savings for our commuters!”
“The bipartisan leadership on this issue has been paramount to finally achieving this long-lasting solution on the TNB,” said Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, the other co-sponsor of this bill. “The ability to unite multiple community leaders and stir them towards a productive outcome was the key ingredient in getting this solution.”
House Bill 2990 now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.