Roach inquiry halts authority's bid to hike tolls without a legislative vote

Sen. Pam Roach - Reporter file photo
Sen. Pam Roach
— image credit: Reporter file photo

In a letter just issued to Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, the Office of Financial Management ruled that the law now states that no transportation toll may be increased except by legislative approval.

"This flies in the face of the Transportation Commission's plan to increase tolls on the Tacoma Narrow Bridge," Roach said.

The ruling was issued by the state OFM in a letter to Roach dated March 8. On Dec. 5, Roach asked the office of the Attorney General whether the ability to raise transportation fees and tolls had reverted to the Legislature as a result of Initiative 1185. The inquiry was referred to the OFM. Roach said it took 90 days for the decision, which she received on last week.

The ruling effects proposed tolling on the Tacoma Narrow Bridge, the proposed Columbia River Crossing, the Interstate 405 high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

"The Transportation Commission issued its plan to increase tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge by 25 cents for the first year and 50 cents in the second," Roach said. "That's adds up to a 60 dollar increase the first year and a 120 dollar increase the second year. That's a huge burden on working families."

Roach said she plans to attend the scheduled Transportation Commission meeting later this month to testify and watchdog the committee.

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