The project has been a priority for lawmakers in Clark County, who have been working to collaborate with the state of Oregon to replace the century-old bridge since 2017, according to The Columbian. The funding would be additional to the $17.5 million Gov. Jay Inslee proposed for an office dedicated to the bridge replacement project.
In December, Washington and Oregon lawmakers had their first public meeting to discuss replacing the bridge since the plans were scrapped for the Columbia River Crossing in 2013. Washington and Oregon will reportedly have to repay $140 million in federal funds unless they can show progress toward building a new bridge.
As part of the funding package, the committee passed a bill authorizing $5 billion in bonds. It also passed another bill to generate revenue for the projects by increasing the state gas tax by 6 cents and imposing a $15 per metric ton fee on carbon pollution on the sale or use of fossil fuels in Washington. The fee was reduced to $10 per metric ton for utilities.
The transportation package will next be sent to the Washington State Senate Rules Committee. If passed by the full Senate, it would still need to be approved by the House and signed by Gov. Inslee.
Source: The Columbian