Proposal in Washington state offers ways cities to fund roads

| 2/25/2005

A Washington state lawmaker has introduced a bill to give cash-strapped cities and counties tools for raising taxes to fix local roads and bridges.

“Our local roads are falling apart,” Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines, said in a written statement. “Potholes are getting bigger, pavement is crumbling and local bridges are desperately in need of seismic upgrades.”

Under the bill, cities and counties would be able to impose a local vehicle license fee, a vehicle weight fee and street utility fees.

In addition, counties could levy a local fuel tax if approved by voters of that county.

Since 1995, traditional sources of local transportation funds have been reduced or eliminated by court decisions and statewide initiatives, forcing cities and counties to seek road dollars from local general funds, Upthegrove said.

Upthegrove’s bill – HB1989 – is in the House Transportation Committee.