Governor signs transportation bill, gas tax hike

Drew Mikkelsen reports

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Long-term relief is on the way for the state's commuters, but they will have to pay higher gas prices to get it.

Wednesday afternoon in Seattle, with the new 520 bridge under construction behind him, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the new $16.1 billion transportation package into law.

It will raise the state's gas tax seven cents a gallon next month and another 4.9 cents a gallon in July of 2016.

The package pays for the completion of the bridge and the North Spokane Corridor, along with dozens of other maintenance and construction projects across the state.

"This package represents the largest, single investment in transportation in state history," said Inslee, D-Washington.

The project also generates more than $1 billion for rail, transit and bike paths.

The bill signing wasn't far from the section of Burke-Gilman trail on the University of Washington campus slated to receive $16 million for improvements to handle increased bike and pedestrian traffic when light rail service begins at the university in 2016.

"I can't imagine how many people are going to come here on the light rail, it's really going to need it," said UW graduate student Jorge Tomasevic.


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