Washington state House advances $8.4 billion transportation plan

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/18/2013

The Washington state House this week approved a two-year, $8.4 billion transportation funding plan. Included in a revenue package that would pay for the plan to help pay for roads, bridges and transit is a 10-cent fuel tax increase.

House lawmakers voted 68-28 on Tuesday, April 16, to advance to the Senate the funding proposal for projects that include the Columbia River Crossing, state Route 520 floating bridge and adding lanes to Interstate 405.

Also attached is a plan to increase the gross weight fee for the largest commercial vehicles by 15 percent.

The plan is expected to undergo many revisions in the Senate. Republicans in the chamber are opposed to the Columbia River Crossing project. They cite plans to include light rail transit.

Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, said that he looks forward to working on the bill that would benefit the movement of goods across the state.

“Members of both parties can agree to the critical need to invest in our transportation system. And though I don’t agree with everything in this package, I agree that we need to have this conversation,” King said in a news release.

The Democratic-led revenue package would increase the state’s 37.5-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to 47.5 cents over the next four years. The increase would be phased in with a nickel added to the tax rate in the first year. Two-cent increases would be added during the next two years and a penny would be attached the following year.

The next stop for the bill – HB1864 – is the Senate Transportation Committee.

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