Gov. Gary Locke unveiled his 4-cent-a-gallon fuel-tax-increase proposal
March 26 as part of a 10-year, $3.2 billion transportation fix,
The Seattle Times reported.
He suggested lawmakers plan a negotiating marathon March 31 on the
Last November, voters resoundingly rejected a $7.7 billion transportation
referendum that featured a 9-cent increase in the state's 23-cent-a-gallon
fuel tax. Locke was co-chairman of the campaign.
Since then, the governor has quietly pressured the Legislature to
pass transportation-efficiency and reform bills, followed by a scaled-back
revenue plan, the newspaper reported. Locke is opposing general
tax increases to balance the state's operating budget but is willing
to back transportation taxes.
He considered his proposal "a jumping-off point, the basis for House
and Senate counterproposals." He said both chambers have made significant
concessions, with the House offering more for roads and the Senate
moving away from an all-asphalt proposal.
Locke's plan is midway between what the two houses have in mind.
The House Democrats offered a $2.6 billion proposal, including a
3-cent fuel-tax hike. Senate Republicans haven't gone public with
a plan yet, but Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Horn, R-Mercer
Island, said he backs a $4.1 billion plan with a nickel fuel-tax
The governor's plan also includes a 15 percent increase in trucking
Locke said he agrees with the House Democrats' suggestion for including
an emergency clause so the law would take effect immediately and
exclude a voter referendum. Republicans oppose this clause.