Washington State legislators consider funding increase options

News AASHTO Journal April 08, 2003
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Washington State legislators are considering three different options for a gas tax increase, which could raise between $2

Washington State legislators are considering three different options for a gas tax increase, which could raise between $2.6 billion to $4.1 billion for highway, rail and ferry projects.


Democrats in the House have proposed the lowest of the three options, supporting an increase of $2.6 billion, with $2 billion of the increase going to highway projects.


Gov. Gary Locke has endorsed a four-cent per gallon tax increase, which would raise about $3.2 billion. He has proposed that $2.3 billion of that amount be spent on highways, with the remainder used for transit and other forms of transportation.


Senate Republicans have recommended a 10-year, $4.1 billion plan including a five-cent per gallon tax increase. That plan would provide some $3.7 billion for highways.


Washington State voters last November killed a referendum proposal that would have set a nine-cent per gallon tax increase, generating $7.8 billion for transportation. Transportation officials have warned that unless some funding increase is provided the state will be forced to halt major projects, eliminate passenger-only ferries and lay off staff.


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