Transportation funding will keep state lawmakers busy

Transportation funding will keep state lawmakers busy

Credit: KING 5

Transportation funding will keep state lawmakers busy

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 NEWS

NWCN.com

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 10:08 AM

State legislative leaders are offering a preview of what to expect in the upcoming 60 day session in Olympia.

The biggest item on their agenda is a transportation package to cover the costs of $10-to-12 billion in improvements over the next decade.

Republicans and Democrats have worked for months to come to terms on a deal with the goal of a special session. That did not happen, leaving lawmakers with a massive gulf to bridge.

At the heart of proposals is the first state gas tax increase since 2008. Both sides suggest raising the current tax by around 11 cents.

Other major projects that need additional funding include the Highway 520 floating bridge, widening Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie pass, linking Highways 167 and 509 with I-5 and completion of the North Spokane highway, which is decades behind schedule.

Lawmakers have been feeling pressure from all sides including Boeing,  which recently agreed to build its new 777X in the region with the promise of road improvements in Western Washington.

Electric vehicle car owners are also hoping to see changes. The Seattle Electric Vehicle Association will push lawmakers for relief from the gas tax, completion of a statewide network of charging stations and relief from taxes on gas vehicle user.

"We want to pay our fair share," said Jeff Finn, member of SEVA. "At the same time, we also want to be recognized for the fact that these vehicles can contribute to the state's economy."
 

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