Tolling bill survives 2nd cutoff deadline

first_imgA bill to let the state’s transportation commission create tolls for a new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River is alive and well after the Tuesday bill cutoff deadline in Olympia. Legislation to prevent government contracting abuses advanced to the next step, too.Tuesday marked the final day that proposals were heard in fiscal or transportation committees in their house of origin. One of the surviving bills is House Bill 2676, which would give the Washington State Transportation Commission the authority to make tolling decisions for the Columbia River Crossing. Companion legislation already passed out of committee in the Senate.Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, added an amendment to the House bill that would forbid tolling on Interstate 205. During a Monday hearing on the bill, state transportation officials said they do not plan to toll I-205 because they don’t expect a large number of drivers to divert to I-205 to avoid tolls. They also said they need state permission to toll the Columbia River Crossing in order to have a better chance at scoring federal funding for the project.Rivers, who voted in support of the legislation, said she still has doubts about the project. “My yes vote should not be construed in any way as supporting tolls or in favor of the project as it stands today,” she said. Also surviving is House Bill 2452, which would set better guidelines that all state agencies must follow when choosing a government contract. The bill was proposed in the House by Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver. It also would create a website to make it easier for small businesses to bid on contracts and submit paperwork to the state.last_img

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