The Senate’s Transportation Package
The Senate’s proposed package is the first comprehensive proposal available for public consumption. The East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition has argued in favor of the passage of a statewide transportation package anchored by a gas tax for more than two years. We are heartened and excited the conversation has been renewed and encourage legislators – especially those representing the Eastside of King County – to continue to negotiate in good faith and make badly needed transportation investments.
The bill is made up of 11 different bills, eight dealing with reforms and three with raising revenue and approving the sale of bonds to finance the transportation projects included. Overall, the package is $15.1 billion and would span 16 years and would raise the gas tax by a total of 11.7 cents.
What projects are included?
View the entire project list here. Projects of importance to the Eastside – and projects included in the Chambers Coalition 2015 transportation document – include, but are not limited to:
· I-405 Renton to Lynnwood corridor widening
· SR-520 Seattle corridor improvements (the west end)
· SR-520/148th Avenue NE Overlake Access Ramp
· I-90/EB Eastgate to West Lake Sammamish Parkway
· I-90/WB shoulder hardening between Bellevue and Issaquah
How will gas tax increase be implemented?
Today Washington’s gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon. Under the proposed package, the gas tax would increase to 49.2 cents per gallon by mid-2017, including increases of 5 cents in July, 4.2 cents in July of 2016, and another 2.5 cents in July of 2017.
What about reforms?
The eight reform measures included in the package include labor reforms, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project delivery reforms, sales tax reform, permitting reform, ferry system reforms, and including congestion relief as a stated goal of improving mobility (congestion relief is not presently a stated goal of Washington’s transportation system).
Legislators – especially bipartisan transportation leaders in the Senate and House – will negotiate on items like total price tag, projects to be funded, and the way those projects should be funded. Again, the Chambers Coalition is excited by the movement on a badly needed transportation investment package that includes a great mix of congestion-relieving highway projects.