Eye On Olympia

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2003, 12:39 P.M.

And then the governor weighed in…

Gov. Gary Locke on Tuesday launched his own transportation tax proposal, which is very similar to what House Democrats are proposing. Locke's suggesting:
-a 4-cent gas tax hike,
-a fee of 1/2 of 1 percent of a vehicle's value when the title is tranferred,
-15 percent higher trucking fees,
-and -- sure to be contentious -- additional fees for motorhomes.
Grand total: $3.2 billion over 10 years.

Unlike the House Democrats' plan, Locke's proposal includes $89 million to build four North Spokane Corridor lanes between Farwell Road and Wandermere. Both plans, however, would add a lane in each direction of the Moscow-Pullman Road (SR 270), and widen I-90 from Argonne to Sullivan Road.

What's next: Yet a third plan is being crafted by Senate Republicans. It's the largest of the three plans, raising about $4.1 billion and including a five-cent gas tax, plus other as-yet-undisclosed taxes.

If there is some agreement, it probably won't be for weeks, because transportation proposals have a tendency to get tangled up in the final big fight over the state budget. Any new taxes would likely kick in quickly, with motorists feeling the extra pinch at the pumps as early as July.

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