10-cent gas-tax hike proposed

OLYMPIA — House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn said Monday she will seek a 10-cent-per-gallon increase to the state’s gas tax.

The proposed tax hike will be a part of a broader transportation revenue package that the Mercer Island lawmaker and several of her Democratic colleagues on the House Transportation Committee plan to unveil Wednesday.

A gas tax increase would likely face its stiffest resistance in the state Senate, which is controlled by Republicans and two Democrats who crossed the aisle to join them. However, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said last month that he would support a gas-tax hike.

Curtis King, R-Yakima and Tracy Eide, D-Federal Way, co-chairs of the Senate Transportation Committee, did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the proposed tax increase.

Washington’s gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon, which is among the highest in the country.

Last week, a group of more than 40 mayors from around the state, including Mike McGinn of Seattle and Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and to legislative leaders urging them to pass an 8-cent increase to the gas tax. The mayors said more than $3 billion is needed to maintain roadways and bridges in the state over the next 10 years.

In order to be passed into law, the tax hike would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate, or it would have to be passed by a vote of the people.

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