Transportation Commission to discuss highway system’s future, from maintenance to electrification

(Courtesy Washington State Department of Transportation)

The Oct. 17 and 18 meeting of the Washington State Transportation Commission in Olympia will include several presentations on the future of the state’s highway system, according to a news release.

Topics include an expert panel discussing the implications of the growing backlog of road and bridge maintenance needs statewide as well as presentations about innovations for electrifying the trucking sector and supporting growing EV charging demands.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which takes place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, and from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Washington State Department of Transportation Headquarters Building, 310 Maple Park Avenue Southeast.

The meeting will also be streamed live on TVW. Those wishing to participate virtually may register for the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions on the commission’s website. Virtual and in-person public comment is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. Written comments can also be submitted via email to

A highlight of the meeting will be an expert panel on Tuesday that will address the widening funding shortfall for the maintenance and preservation of roads and bridges statewide, estimated at $11 billion over the next decade. Ramifications for falling behind in maintaining Washington’s $200 billion transportation system include threats to safety and reliability as well as escalating costs of moving goods on degraded roads and bridges. The panel discussion starts at 9 a.m.

Also Tuesday, commissioners will discuss potential changes to rates for the express toll lanes on Interstate 405 and State Route 167 that could take effect in early 2024. They will also begin discussions around possible toll policy changes for the I-405/SR 167 corridor that would be implemented when the next section of the express toll lane system, between Bellevue and Renton, is complete, which is planned for summer 2025.

Other topics to be covered at the meeting include:

Electrifying the trucking sector: Commissioners on Tuesday will hear from WattEV, a company working to transform the heavy-duty transportation sector by creating truck charging infrastructure and expanding a fleet of electric heavy-duty vehicles.

Adding electric infrastructure to roadways: Also on Tuesday, the commission will hear from NextGen Highways, which advocates for building electric transmission lines in public right of way corridors to meet demand from the increasing number of electric cars and buildings.

Highway renaming: The commission on Wednesday will consider a request from the Legislature to rename State Route 411 the “Cowlitz County Deputy Sheriff Justin DeRosier Memorial Highway” in honor of the deputy, who was fatally shot while on duty in April 2019 in Kalama.

For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit the commission’s website:

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