Supporters of the Senate Transportation package turned out in force yesterday at the House Transportation Committee hearing in Olympia.
A steady stream of business leaders and local government officials urged a House panel to raise the gasoline tax and several other vehicle fees and spend the projected $15 billion on roads, bridges, mass transit and ferries.
Although some had highway or bridge projects they think should be added to the proposed list, most speakers who came before the House Transportation Committee in the three-hour hearing said they supported an 11.7 cent increase in the state gas tax that passed the Senate earlier this month. The proposal also has higher fees for vehicle weights, drivers and a new $5 fee on each new studded tire sold after Jan. 1, 2017.
More than 90 people showed up to testify, underscoring the importance of getting something done this year. KING 5 reported that the House will put its own stamp on the plan, quoting House Transportation Committee chair Rep. Judy Clibborn as saying the House proposal will come out soon, with final details not likely to be out until the closing days of the session.
TVW covered the hearing. The first business panel, which includes Opportunity Washington partners AWB president Kris Johnson and Washington Roundtable president Steve Mullin, begins at 44:50.
The show of support yesterday was impressive and compelling. It’s necessary to maintain the momentum and assure that a comprehensive, bipartisan transportation package passes the Legislature in 2015.