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Latest transportation budget calls for replacement of transponder readers

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm with 4 Comments »
April 19, 2011 1:14 pm

The latest and possibly final version of the state’s transportation spending plan calls for replacing “as soon as practicable” the machines that read Good to Go passes on the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

Lawmakers are reacting to news that the machines can’t read the latest generation of the transponders. They call in their budget for new readers that “are able to read new and existing” transponders.

Replacement machines would cost $620,000, says Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor, who pushed for the budget language and said federal money would likely cover the cost.

Wherever WSDOT finds the money, lawmakers prohibited it from leaving bridge toll payers on the hook. They called for buying new machines “at no cost to the Tacoma Narrows toll bridge account.”

The Department of Transportation has said it is working to find a way to replace the machines, which could require renegotiation of a contract with manufacturer TransCore. In the meantime, the agency says contractors watching camera footage from the bridge are catching most of the drivers anyway and charging their accounts. Cars they miss may cost $600,000 a year in lost tolls.

The Senate is poised to vote on the new 254-page proposed transportation budget, which Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen said reflects the result of negotiations between the Senate and House.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Pecksbadboy says:

    In other words, they will not charge people who use the bridge, just the WA taxpayers. I am sure the people in Yakima are thrilled.

  2. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Kilmer says,

    “Replacement machines would cost $620,000, says Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor, who pushed for the budget language and said federal money would likely cover the cost.”

    So using my federal tax dollars gets he and Seaquist off the hook? I don’t think so. Where is the accountablality for this screw up. Seaquist and Kilmer don’t care, they know you dummies prefer voting for anything with a (D) by their name.

    Can anyone tell me one thing this WSDOT can do on cost and schedule. Their own people told the Gig Harbor CAC that they can’t name a project that came in on cost and budget.

  3. Perspicacious1 says:

    Let’s see: won’t cost the Feds will cover the cost….who supports the Feds? Who supports all the screwups of DoT in WA? Wish I could “fix” my budget problems and equipment needs with all the taxpayers footing the bill for me !

  4. sunlover says:

    It may not come from the Tacoma bridge users account directly but it truly does as we are taxpayers and federal tax payers. They will secretly take some federal money for the elderly or education and buy new readers!

    What a load of BS again from legislators who have egotisical views on how they can slice and dice someone elses money. WSDOT was not forthcoming about this initial screw up but no one in that department is being held accountable. I am sick and tired of the stupidity of this state’s government and the lack of accountability within.

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