February 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM
House Democrats to propose $6 billion transportation package
Updated at 6:23 p.m.
House Democrats plan to roll out a $6 billion transportation tax package next Wednesday.
House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, said the money would primarily come from a gas tax and that they want to try to pass the measure in the Legislature instead of sending it to voters. Passing a gas tax increase in the Legislature would require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.
Clibborn said she expects to have backing from both business and labor for the proposal, which would include money for a wide variety of projects including a new bridge over the Columbia River, as well as funds for projects on Interstate 405 and the Interstate 90 mountain passes.
She said the $6 billion figure was a starting point. “The one thing I’ve heard from everybody is they want more,” she said Tuesday.
It’s not clear yet how such a proposal might fare in the state Senate, which is controlled by a GOP-led coalition. Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said he personally would want any gas tax proposal to go to voters, but added he wasn’t speaking for his caucus.
Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, said in an email: “The governor thinks this is the right approach and he has been discussing this with House members as the plan has evolved. He has said before he thinks the Legislature should be able to do this work here.”
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