Yesterday’s announcement of a bipartisan Senate transportation agreement represents real progress toward passing the first comprehensive transportation package in a decade. (TVW coverage of the press conference here; documents here).
Jordan Schrader reports in the Olympian that a number of issues are still unresolved and opposition to the proposal can be found in both caucuses. Yet…
“I don’t think the four of us would be standing here if we didn’t feel confident that we could muster enough votes,” said Sen. Curtis King of Yakima, flanked by fellow Republican Sen. Joe Fain of Auburn and Democratic Sens. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens and Marko Liias of Lynnwood. King leads the Senate Transportation Committee that will now hold hearings.
He said he understood that some may oppose the idea of a gas-tax increase but said, “we don’t have any other way to do it, without changing our whole system.”
“We don’t have another alternative at this point, but we also believe we can’t wait any longer to address our maintenance and preservation issues and address congestion,” he said.
Another of the governor’s carbon reduction plans also gets touched on in the proposed legislation.
Part of the plan also addresses another Inslee is considering, a low-carbon fuel standard that would require cleaner fuels over time. If that standard is ultimately adopted, under the Senate plan all non-bondable revenues — like fee-based money going toward transit and bike paths — would instead be moved into the main transportation account.
While it’s a long journey yet, this is an important, commendable first step.