OLYMPIA, Wash. - The gas tax won’t be going up this summer, or next, unless something changes at the Capitol.
Calling it a “dang shame for the state of Washington,” Gov. Jay Inslee said he wants to find a way to bring up the gas tax increase later this year.
He did not rule out calling another special session.
“We’re going to have to do some deep thinking about what the next step forward is,” said Inslee.
Raising the gas tax 10.5 cents over the next year would have paid for freeway improvements and would have helped pay for a new I-5 bridge to Portland.
That project was set to receive $850 million from the federal government.
Inslee said that money may not be available to the state after September 1.
“If the state Senate decided to take a more mature approach and allow a vote,” said Inslee, “It may be possible to keep that money, federally.”
Senator Tim Sheldon, D-Mason County, was one of two Democrats who helped Republicans gain control of the Senate this year.
Sheldon said it was unfair for the Governor to politicize the issue.
According to Sheldon, the bill did not come up for a vote because it did not call for any reforms to what he called an “inefficient” state Department of Transportation.
The $10 billion transportation package passed out of the House last week.
It did not come up for a vote in the Senate before lawmakers adjourned their session Saturday.