Washington state lawmakers renew tax-hike effort

| 2/27/2002

State lawmakers have released the details of a $5.6 billion transportation plan they claim aids highway safety and congestion-relief projects. If passed, the bill must gain voter approval in a June election.

Legislators want to pay for the transportation improvement plan with an 8 cents-per-gallon fuel tax increase from the current 23-cent fuel tax, an 0.8 percent sales tax on new and used vehicles and a 20 percent increase on the $1,600 annual registration fees for trucks to help pay for the plan.

Gov. Gary Locke, who in December proposed an $8.5 billion plan that would not require a public vote, said he was "encouraged" by the plan. A similar proposal last year failed to pass the state Legislature after a near-record-long seven-month session.

OOIDA Vice President Todd Spencer says similar legislative proposals are to be expected throughout the nation this year "because the federal government is threatening to cut funding, but increases at this level are simply way out of line." HB2969 is in the House transportation committee with a vote expected in the House this week.