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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

GOP road plan DOA…

In a proposal that House Transportation Committee chairwoman Judy Clibborn said was "dead on arrival," House Republicans today rolled out a proposal that they said would free up $6 billion over the coming decade.

If they were in charge, GOP lawmakers said, they would then steer that cash into several high-priority projects, including $1 billion for the North Spokane Corridor.

"we can invest $6 billion into our system without raising taxes," said Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Bellingham. "...If we had 65 votes, we would have done this last year." (They're outnumbered almost two to one by Democrats in both the House and Senate.)

The plan calls for $1.5 billion in locally raised money from the Seattle area and steering about $1.4 billion in auto- and auto-parts sales taxes back into transportation projects over the next 10 years. It would impose tolls on a new 520 floating bridge in Seattle and a new Columbia River crossing at Vancouver. And it would take the sales tax on transportation projects and spend the money on the projects, not send it to the general fund.

Over a decade, it would mean about $2 billion less in the general fund.

"Do the Republicans really expect leaders in Olympia to direct hundreds of millions of dollars that would normally go to schools and health care to road projects?" said Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.