State Senate transportation plan: 11.5-cent gas tax hike … with reforms

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OLYMPIA — Senate Republicans have resisted an increase in the gas tax increase all year long.  Until now.

They just recently came forward with a plan to match the $10 billion proposal that Democrats have been pushing for months.  But along with a gas tax hike, Republicans want transportation reforms as part of the deal.

transportation“You’ll find that in this there are very few, if any, studies, those kinds of things,” said state Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima.  “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it, and let’s get it done.”

On Thursday, an overflowing crowd came to testify about this latest proposal.  One clear supporter is the mayor of Everett, who says it’s key to keeping Boeing there because the company needs good roads for its employees and its freight.

“Passing this transportation package is going to be critical to our potential success in landing the assembly of 777X,” Ray Stephanson said.  “I would urge you, please, this committee, and then on to the full Senate and House, to pass this transportation package.”

The Republican proposal would fund many of the projects that are supported by Democrats, including State Route 520, Interstate 5 and State Route 167. And both plans provide authority for King County to raise taxes to save Metro bus service.

But transit activists aren’t happy with the Republican proposal, which, they contend, is too heavy on roads and too light on alternatives.

“Their package is terrible,” said Ben Scheindelman of the Seattle Transit Blog.  “Thinking that they can put something out there with 2% transit in it when most states give 17% of their transportation budget to transit is way out there.”

Scheindelman argues the package needs to be significantly altered.

“This is a joke,” he said.

Many lawmakers are trying to forge a deal before the end of the year so that it can be done before the new Legislature begins in January. Otherwise, they worry about chewing up a lot of that two-month session with this debate and pushing aside all other business.

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  • Guest

    Looks like an good honest approach to the real needs of the taxpayers of Washington State.
    I hope it passes quickly and the lawmakers move forward with getting things done right.

  • The World is Ending

    DOT just more money to go to playoffs and bribes. If you have ever looked at the state budget, DOT gets an obscene amount of money already.

  • adam

    Why is it that we have the highest gas tax in the nation but it’s still not enough to maintain our roads? Maybe instead of putting it on the tax payers yet again how about we make it easier to get thru the permit process. That will shave thousands if not millions offevery project we have in the works.

  • Slam1263

    Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce County Transit, Snohomish County Transit, et al.

    $170 Billion in long term debt, or $756 per passenger/trip, for the next 30 years.

    It would be cheaper to give them Prius' and free gas.

    And Boeing is getting new roads, on top of the $9 Billion in tax theft from every business, and worker, in this State?

    Just what are we going to do if 10% of the 135,000 employers in this State decides to leave for a lower tax State? As an average, that will cost us more than a billion in lost tax revenue each year, before inflation.

    We need employers that will play on an even field, and Boeing, while a big company, is smaller than Microsoft. Wine pays more in taxes than Boeing does. With in 5 years, beer and distilled spirits will. Will they get tax breaks? How about the average $13 an hour in State L&I insurance that Boeing is exempt from? The guys driving around in service vans have to pay that, and they don't get ludicrous tax breaks.

    As much as I love business, I think if the Legislature thinks Boeing's taxes are too high, why don't they lower everyone's?

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