OLYMPIA - It doesn't have a new toll, but it contains pretty much everything else. About half of the $10 billion transportation plan presented by House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D) Mercer Island would go to new projects. A quarter would go to maintain the roads and bridges we already have, another ten percent to clean up storm water run off.
To help pay for the plan, the bill proposes some fees and taxes. Two billion dollars would come from increasing the motor vehicle excise tax. Three billion dollars would come from the sale of bonds. And two and a half billion from increasing the tax on a gallon of gas two cents a year until it hits ten cents.
At this point we have a choice, said Clibborn. If we do nothing, we will watch the infrastructure crumble. She told reporters she feels comfortable proposing the revenues because this is the right thing to do.
The extra ten cents is a further drain on the economy, said one motorist. Especially poor people like me that work at McDonalds and go to school full time.
Washington has the fourth highest gas tax in the nation at 37.5 cents a gallon. Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) Kalama said taxpayers aren't getting enough bang for the buck.
In some cases, we are paying two to two and a half times as much (for) similar projects in other states, he said.
A tax increase like this requires approval by two thirds of the legislature. The head of the Senate Transportation Committee says he thinks voters need to weigh in on this one.
I believe whatever goes out of the House or the Senate needs to go to a vote of the people,'he said.
Clibborn is getting support from the Association of Washington Business which represents 8,000 employers.
Mike Ennis, the group's transportation policy director said in a news release, Mobility is integral to creating jobs, remaining competitive and improving our quality of life.