Topic: transportation package
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April 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM
House Democrats on Tuesday released a slimmed-down transportation tax package that would spend $8.4 billion on various projects, including extensions of Highways 167 and 509 as well as work on Interstate 405 and I-5.
Back in February they released a plan to spend nearly $10 billion. The new version drops proposals for a politically unpopular car-tab tax, equal to 0.7 percent of a vehicle’s value, as well as a hazardous substance tax and a bicycle tax.
The proposal retains plans to increase the state gas tax by 10 cents a gallon, phased in over four years. It also includes various weight fees and some local option taxes.
In addition to money for highway projects in the Puget Sound region, the package includes $450 million for a new bridge over the Columbia River that the GOP-led caucus in the Senate has firmly rejected.
Senate Republicans have pushed for that project to be removed from the proposal because of concerns the new bridge would not be high enough for companies to move cargo and equipment under it.
House Democrats released a statement that included a quote from Republican Sen. Curtis King of Yakima, who said “Members of both parties can agree to the critical need to invest in our transportation system and though I don’t agree with everything in this package, I agree that we need to have this conversation.”
Senate Republicans confirmed the quote, but it wasn’t immediately clear if King was just speaking for himself.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood told state lawmakers recently that the state needs to commit several hundred million dollars toward completing a multibillion dollar Columbia River crossing or risk losing up to $1.2 billion in federal support.
House Democrats plan to move the tax package out of committee this week, and have a floor vote next week.
The Legislature is running out of time to act. April 28 is the last day of the regular session and lawmakers have yet negotiate a state operating budget.
February 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM
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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