Washington state House OKs transportation package

| Monday, April 14, 2003

The Washington state House passed a 10-year, $3.1 billion transportation plan April 8 anchored by a 4-cent-a-gallon fuel tax increase, according to local media.

House lawmakers, however, have little expectation the bill will survive in the Senate.

The Senate, in fact, is expected to vote this week on its own $4.1 billion transportation plan, which includes a 5-cent fuel tax increase, The Seattle Times reported.

Legislators from both chambers say no deal is imminent, but they plan to keep meeting with Gov. Gary Locke in hopes of finding a common ground.

The House package would raise about $500 million more than its proposal introduced earlier this session, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. It's close to a $3.2 billion package put together by the governor but $1 billion less than the Senate offer.

The House proposal would spend about $2.4 billion on highway-related projects and $600 million on such things as freight rail and public transit. It also includes a 15 percent increase in truck-weight fees and a 0.46 percent tax on new and used vehicle purchases.

The Senate plan calls for spending about $3.7 billion on highway projects and $468 million on other transportation projects.

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