Senate transportation policymakers in Washington state get their way, drivers
there could pay a lot more fuel tax at the pump to help pay for roads and
road-building plan would raise $9.1 billion over the next 16 years with the aid
of a 15-cent-per-gallon fuel tax boost over the next 12 years.
Transportation Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, and ranking
Republican Dan Swecker of Rochester formed the bipartisan plan – SB6103.
said the package was the only way to pay for necessary projects such as the
replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle and a new state Route 520
floating bridge across Lake Washington, linking Seattle and Bellevue, as well
as congestion relief, farm-to-market projects and local roads across the state.
ripped the plan, saying it should be referred to voters for final approval if
it clears the Legislature.
plan would bump the state’s 28-cents-per-gallon fuel tax by 3 cents a gallon
this summer, 2 cents next year and a penny a year after that for the next 10
years. The Legislature raised it from 23 cents a year ago.
also includes a new vehicle weight fee that would add between $5 and $25 to the
annual licensing fee, as well as tolls and local-option tax increases for
cities and counties.
Christine Gregoire praised the plan.
Senate Transportation Committee’s proposal is focused on safety – making our
highways and bridges safer for motorists who use them,” Gregoire said in a
statement. “And they have made a good start in addressing what often seem to be
overwhelming needs of our transportation system.”
the governor’s endorsement, floor votes on the initiative were delayed last
week as Swecker and Haugen reportedly hustled for enough votes to get it
through the Senate. If approved, it would move to the House, where
Transportation Chairman Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is floating his own plan.
package, which has yet to be released, is expected to be smaller. It likely
will call for increasing the state’s fuel tax 10 cents over the next two years
or by 3 cents each of the next three years.