State Lawmakers Reach Deal to Raise Gas Tax and Pay for Transportation Funding
House and Senate transportation leaders said Sunday that they have finalized details of a $15 billion transportation revenue package that includes an incremental increase in the gas tax and are optimistic lawmakers will approve a package by Tuesday.
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As reported by The Spokesman-Review, House and Senate transportation leaders said Sunday that they have finalized details of a multi-billion dollar transportation revenue package that includes an incremental increase in the gas tax.
Democratic House Transportation Chairwoman Judy Clibborn and Republican Sen. Joe Fain, vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, both said that negotiations were now done.
Clibborn said that the last meeting over the package was completed early Sunday afternoon, and that lawmakers would be briefed before full details would be released publicly.
The headway in negotiations between the chambers came after Gov. Jay Inslee said he would sign any ultimate deal between the two chambers, even if it includes language that Inslee opposed related to a low-carbon fuel standard, which had been a major point of contention in the negotiations.
Statement from Gov. Jay Inslee about a statewide transportation investment package
In a news release sent Sunday morning, Inslee wrote that even though the current bill “has a poison pill that pits clean air against transit,” lawmakers have told him it’s necessary in order to pass the package.
I’ve been fighting to get a transportation package since my first day in office and now is the time for the Legislature to act.
The state needs a transportation package and lawmakers have negotiated a bipartisan proposal that is nearly ready to be voted on.
The current bill has a poison pill that pits clean air against transit. I oppose that and have worked hard to find a better alternative. But legislators tell me it is essential to passing the $15 billion multi-modal transportation package and authorizing an additional $15 billion for Sound Transit light rail expansion.
I will sign the bill even with this provision because of the jobs, safety improvements and traffic relief that the investments would provide.
I urge legislators to finish the job and pass this package by Tuesday so I can sign it as soon as possible.
Clibborn said she was relieved that negotiations were done, and she called the final deal “a good product.” She said she and Republican Sen. Curtis King, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, worked hard to make sure “it was really a good compromise budget and reflected everyone’s values.”
The Legislature has struggled to pass a new plan that pays for road projects across the state for the past few years. But Clibborn has said this year is the closest they have come to agreement. The Senate passed a plan earlier this year and has been in negotiations with the House for months.
King said Sunday he was glad negotiators have reached agreement, but he cautioned that “we have a ways to go.”
“You don’t count these things until they’re off the floor and signed by the governor,” he said.
Source: The Spokesman-Review