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Tue., Jan. 10, 2012, 11:11 a.m.

State of State: Put a tax on oil, Gregoire says

OLYMPIA -- When we build roads, they don't take care of themselves, Gov. Chris Gregoire said. The state has to do it.

The state faces a $1.6 billion shortfall on road maintenance over the next decade and a $1.3  billion shortfall on the ferry maintenance.

"I propose a $3.6 billion, 10-year package," she said. "I will ask you to pass a modest, $1.50 fee on every barrel of oil produced in the state of Washington."

"Our transportation system is the life blood of our economy...If we don't maintain and grow, we will come to a stand still."

A panel studying the problem over the summer concluded the problem is big and the time is short. It recommended a $21 billion investment, for everything from the North Spokane Corridor and the Columbia River Crossing to Snoqualmie Pass and the I-5 widening at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

"Let's build a better transportation system than the other guys," she said.

"People often ask me if we can come back from this recession. We can. We will. We are."

She cited growth in Microsoft earnings and a growth in aerospace jobs that includes Boeing winning the contract for the new Air Force air refueling tankers.

"We're winning in the turn in the aerospace industry in Washington state," she said, repeating her NASCAR reference.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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