No conclusions on proposal to raise gas tax
OLYMPIA – A proposal to raise the gasoline tax by 11.5 cents over three years and spend $12.3 billion on transportation projects and maintenance of existing structures generated four solid hours of testimony Thursday but no conclusions on whether it’s ready to place before the Senate in a special legislative session.
“We are still in negotiations,” Senate Transportation Committee Co-chairwoman Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, said after scores of representatives of local governments, businesses, social service organizations and individual citizens spent a few minutes explaining what they liked or didn’t like about the proposal. “We will continue to move forward.”
The package would spend some $7 billion on major projects, including $750 million to complete the North Spokane Corridor. Projects on the list were praised by some witnesses as important to the state’s economic future. Some that didn’t make the cut should have, said others.
One such project left off the list is State Route 904 in Cheney, Arlene Fisher, Cheney administrator, told the committee. Since 2009, there have been 65 accidents on the two-lane road, she said. Adding a passing lane would cost less than $15 million.
Gov. Jay Inslee has said he would call a special session to pass a transportation package, if legislators could reach an agreement.