The Impact – Debating a $26 Billion Transportation Package
House democrats released a 26 billion dollar transportation package, separate from the two year budget, with funding for road maintenance, culvert removal, bridge replacement, ferry upgrades and a cash infusion for public transportation systems.
“Why now is because we’ve got pressing transportation needs where we need to make investments and the longer we put them off the more expensive they become,” said Rep. Jake Fey ( D-Tacoma), Chair, House Transportation Committee.
The plan would raise the state tax on gasoline by 18 cents per gallon and 21 cents for diesel. It would also create a new carbon fee, which could also impact the price of gasoline and increase the fee for license plates by 50% among various other rate hikes. It also includes funding for communities detrimentally impacted by transportation pollution or infrastructure.
“This is the wrong time to be putting forth another, a tax on the people right now in our state who are just reeling from the economic impacts of the COVID crisis. Our state’s still shut down,” said Rep. Andrew Barkis (R-OLYMPIA), Ranking Member, House Transportation Committee. “When I’m talking to constituents out there, the last thing that they want to be talking about is taxing businesses.”
The House Transportation Committee Chair said the proposal came together after hearing input during 93 listening sessions with constituents.
The House proposal would not involve issuing any bonds. That means it could pass with a simple majority vote.
“We have ten years to do culverts and we can’t afford to start in year three or four to make that happen,” said Fey. “Because we have a legal and moral obligation to fulfill that, that was US Supreme Court ruling.”
“No matter what is done on this. No matter what happens with the funding, this is not something that’s going to happen tomorrow or this week or year. This is years away from going to fruition,” said Barkis.
Hear more of the debate between House Transportation Committee Chair, Rep. Jake Fey and Ranking Member, Rep. Andrew Barkis (R-Olympia) on this week’s episode of “The Impact.”