Gas tax repeal may quash Washington State federal matching funds

August 17, 2005

A movement is afoot in Washington State to repeal the recent 9.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase through a ballot initiative that could jeopardize the state’s ability to match federal funds for transportation projects now that the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users has become law, the News Tribune of Tacoma reports.

The gas tax increase approved by the state legislature is expected to provide as much as $5 billion more for state transportation projects. However, the News Tribune reports, sponsors of the Initiative 912 are trying to repeal the increase in the November 8 ballot. The increase went into effect July 1.

One of the largest projects being helped with the additional funding is the $220 million Alaskan Way Viaduct, which is crucial for passenger and freight movement in Seattle and Tacoma.

Representative Norm Dicks (D-Belfair) was joined by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D) in an attempt to persuade voters against repealing the tax increase. The newspaper quoted Dicks as saying, “I pray the people of Washington State don’t repeal [the gas tax]. It will devastate the state’s transportation infrastructure.”