The new head of the Washington Department of Transportation is exploring alternate funding models for the state's transportation projects, including tolls and fees based on mileage. Lynn Peterson spoke Thursday with The Conversation's Ross Reynolds.
Peterson said her top priority is making sure her department's megaprojects are completed on time and under budget. They include
- Building the deep-bore tunnel under Seattle’s downtown.
- Rebuilding the State Route 520 bridge.
- Constructing a new Interstate 5 bridge across the Columbia River.
Peterson said she supports the current funding package proposal that includes a gas tax, but she is open to exploring other funding models as well. Peterson noted that she drives a Nissan Leaf and that hybrids cars are one example of why user fees need to be re-examined.
Before becoming Washington secretary of transportation, Lynn Peterson was transportation policy adviser to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber. She’s former chair of the Clackamas County Commission and she was strategic planning manager for TriMet, Portland's regional transportation agency. Today is her 15th day as the head of WSDOT.