Tolls, other user fees and possibly public-private partnerships should be considered as ways to pay for the region's transportation needs...

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Tolls, other user fees and possibly public-private partnerships should be considered as ways to pay for the region’s transportation needs, according to a newly appointed Regional Transportation Commission in a draft report released Wednesday.

“We do not believe the answer is to simply raise more taxes — voters will not support them,” the commission said in its 171-page report.

The commission, headed by former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice and John Stanton, founder of Trilogy Equity Partners, also said that the region’s six separate transit agencies — Sound Transit, Metro, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Community Transit and Everett Transit — should possibly be merged into one mega-agency.

The commission found the six represent $66 billion in transportation-funding requirements over the next two decades, yet they operate relatively independently.

“The present transportation governance system is broken and must be fixed,” the report said. “There are too many cooks in the transportation priorities kitchen.”

The commission recommended that the state Legislature, possibly next year, create a regional transportation-governance agency to prioritize, plan and finance regional projects.

The commission was established by Gov. Christine Gregoire and the Legislature in June 2006 to evaluate how the region’s transportation system is governed and funded.

Two public hearings will be held, one at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Port of Tacoma Business Center, 3600 Port of Tacoma Road in Tacoma, and the second at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Snohomish County Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave., in Everett (That hearing will be televised live on TVW; see for information.)

Public comments also will be accepted throughout the 15-day comment period and can be sent to the Regional Transportation Commission by calling 800-606-9161 or e-mailing or writing to Regional Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 53010, Bellevue, WA 98015-3010. Comments received by Dec. 1 will be included with final recommendations sent to the governor and Legislature at the end of the year.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or

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