Inslee seeks out key lawmakers on roads package

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Monday, December 1, 2014 1:31pm
  • Local News

Gov. Jay Inslee is inviting leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees to weigh in on the multi-billion dollar transportation package he’s drafting before its public release.

“The governor is going to build on the work that’s been done the past two years in order to promote a solution that sparks action within the next legislative session,” read an email sent today by Miguel Perez-Gibson, the governor’s executive director of legislative affairs.

It went to Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, his House counterpart. It also went to the ranking minority members on each committee, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, and Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama.

It concluded with an invite to meet “as soon as possible to get your input before we have a final proposal ready to announce.”

The email offered a few hints though no surprises of what the governor is eyeing for inclusion in his proposal.

“It will emphasize the importance of investments in maintenance, safety and operations to protect and preserve our existing infrastructure. It will fund the completion of those most critical projects, such as 520, 167 and JBLM,” Perez-Gibson wrote. It will also invest in multi-modal solutions, next generation transportation options, and make progress on environmental concerns such as the Martinez decision.

“The Governor is still evaluating funding options. At this point we think the total amount of funding needed will be similar in scale to past proposals the governor has supported, such as the bill passed by the House previously. The Governor is considering a combination of funding sources including fees and a charge on major polluters – sources that could reduce the need for a gas tax increase.”

Lawmakers and the governor have been stymied for two years on a transportation package.

In 2013, House Democrats passed a plan to spend roughly $10 billion over the next dozen years. A 10-cent per gallon increase in the gas tax was the largest source of funding along with higher weight fees also.

The Majority Coalition Caucus of the Senate upped the ante with a proposed $12.3 billion package with a gas tax increase of 11.5 cents. The coalition did not bring it up for a vote.

Neither plan received a vote in the 2014 session.

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