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Proposal would increase state gas tax 10 cents a gallon

gastaxOLYMPIA — Drivers across Washington could soon be paying a lot more to get around. Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a huge $10 billion transportation package that they say is necessary to keep up with the state’s growing backlog of road and bridge repair projects.

The centerpiece of the package is a steep hike in the gas tax, taking it from 37.5 cents a gallon to 47.5 cents. The leaders pushing this plan argue the state’s economy depends on stepping up and investing more in transportation.

“If we do nothing, we will watch the infrastructure crumble,” said state Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island. “It will become more difficult. We will not have the jobs or the connectivity.”

Clibborn, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, is hoping to get lawmakers from both parties to step up to a 10-year, $10 billion package of transportation projects across the state.

The two biggest sources of money in the package are the gas tax increase and a new car tab fee of .7% of a vehicle’s value.

“I don’t feel that with all the (gas price) fluctuations that we get naturally that people are going to feel a 10-cent big push all at once” at the pump, Clibborn said.

The project list in the package includes SR-167, I-405, I-5 and I-90. There will also be money for maintenance and safety improvements.

Gov. Jay Inslee pledged his support for the package Wednesday.

“If we’re going to create jobs in this state,” Inslee said, “this is the place to start — jobs not only for construction workers to build these roads, bridges and trains, but allow us to move freight.”

State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, ranking member of the Transportation Committee, opposes any new taxes during these tough times.

“The higher the tax gets, the greater the hardship is,” he said. “We need to make our tax dollars go further before we go further into the taxpayer’s pocket.”

Orcutt is troubled by a recent report that compared the cost of  Washington’s road projects with those of other states.

“Every single case they looked at, Washington was higher,” he said.

Inslee on Wednesday pledged more efficiencies going forward.

“We’re going to embrace very, very vigorous and comprehensive lean management systems,” he said. “We expect performance for our taxpayer dollars. That’s going to happen.”

For the first time, under this proposal, the state would be adding a tax for bicycles: $25 for any bike purchased over $500. That would raise about $1 million and would go to help fund bike lanes and bike improvements that are part of the plan.

To pass the package, supporters would need a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature, or a simple majority vote of lawmakers to place the plan on the ballot this November.

13 comments

  • Guest

    Here's a novel thought……how about using tax money that is earmarked for road work ON road work instead of lining the governments pockets????

  • Guest

    People in Seattle should like this, it is what Seattle votes for, higher taxes that is. Before you you say anything you keep for voting for Democrats. (I am not a republican, I can't stand either party)

  • guest

    Inslee says we will embrace vigorous comprehensive lean management systems going forward. Why haven't we done that in the past? Why don't we try that FIRST, BEFORE RAISING TAXES? They always promise to use the money more efficiently when raising taxes but NEVER do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Darrell

    More like Gregoire in the spending process. I thought we retired her but this Inslee is no different. More Liberal Democrat agenda spend and tax in a state that doesn't know how to say no.

  • rick

    Taxes, taxes taxes, when is it ever going to end. Most of the money will be spent over in the seattle area, but not over here in Eastern Washington. It is a bad idea to increase gas tax by 10 cents. Why don't we just have a state income tax and that would take care of everything. This state sucks, and that is why no one wants to live here. Inslee is a liar. He stated that he would not raise new taxes, well, what the hell is the state's 10 cent increase in gas tax? Just another boner for the republican party?

  • Anonymous

    Extra ten cents a gallon? I pay $4.11 for diesel already you don’t think that is high enough? Suck my dick you adopted fuckhead. How about you start drug testing and denying people on welfare who DON’T NEED IT. That right there will save you enough to do repairs you jeriactric fuck! the funny thing is I know people on welfare that have car insurance I would love to have car insurance. I’m leaving this country, you communist bastards in the government buildings around here aren’t going to fuck me any longer. I’m sure the founding fathers of this country would slap the dog shit out of you all.

  • Aaron

    Why has nobody brought up Gregoirs "Its your nickle watch it trickle" Gas tax that was supposed to take care of infrastructure. We are already throwing tons of money down this pit and they want to double the tax. Will this insure longer projects that will get done wrong three times before they realize it was ok the way it was? Out of control to say the least. CR Douglas can you pose this question to someone in Olympia? Im just wondering if they thought we forgot how much they take from every last one of us!?!

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