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March 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Poll: Should the Legislature give King County more authority to tax residents to fix roads, transit shortfall?
A coalition of citizens and civic leaders gathered in Seattle Monday to ask state lawmakers to fix existing roads — and give cities and counties the authority to pay for their own transportation needs through local taxes and higher fees.
Here’s a news report from Joe Fryer of KING-TV, a Seattle Times news partner.
A couple other quick points made at the press conference:
- King County Executive Dow Constantine says maintenance is falling behind on more than 1,500 miles of roads in unincorporated areas and 5,500 miles within King County’s 39 cities and towns — home to 30 percent of the state’s population, 40 percent of its jobs, and half of its payroll. “If King County is not authorized to fund the needed investments in our roads and transit, the economic effects will be felt statewide,” he said in prepared remarks.
- Taxpayers passed a temporary, two-year Congestion Reduction Charge. Without this or any additional revenue, King County will have to cut transit services by 17 percent in 2014.
- Options for local governments to raise revenue could include increasing gas taxes (locally, not statewide), increasing car tab fees, and bringing back the unpopular motor vehicle excise tax (MVET).
Our editorial board has argued for a cautious approach to passing a transportation package this session. We’ll have more to say about the details of the plan in the coming weeks as lawmakers debate the revenue issue and present a transportation budget.
For now, let’s see what you have to say. Take our poll or submit your own answer to the question below:
Update 11:05 a.m.: Added information about the maintenance backlog in King County. In addition to the 5,500 miles of roads within the county’s cities, an additional 1,500 miles of roads in unincorporated parts of the county also need to be preserved.