House Democrats have narrowed a transportation tax proposal that would pump $8.4 billion dollars into new projects around the state.
The plan is about $1.6 billion less than a package unveiled in February, but still relies on a 10 cent a gallon increase on the state’s gasoline tax. Other revenue-generating plans have been dropped from the new package, including a car tab tax and a fee on bicycle purchases.
Read a summary of the revised proposal here.
The package targets improvements to State Route 167, funding for the Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing project and the state ferry system. Last week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood urged lawmakers to fund the CRC project or risk losing federal funding. Some Republicans in the Senate take issue with design elements in the bridge project and have vowed to stop it.
In a statement released Tuesday, Senate Transportation Committee Chair Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) said he was willing to discuss the House proposal.
“Members of both parties can agree to the critical need to invest in our transportation system and though I don’t agree with everything in this package, I agree that we need to have this conversation,” King said.
With less than two weeks remaining in the 105-day legislative session, backers of the proposal are running out of time to get the plan approved. It must first be approved in the House Transportation Committee before it reaches the floor.