Senate Passes Transportation Budget; House Votes Today

The Senate yesterday passed legislation that will fund a comprehensive transportation plan. The House will vote later today. The transportation package is the result of years of intense, productive negotiation and is endorsed by an impressive coalition of disparate organizations.

The Puget Sound Regional Council calls the legislation “the most important transportation investment in our region’s history.”

The Seattle Times reports:

A 7-cent gas-tax increase would be only a month away if state lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee approve a $16 billion, 16-year compromise transportation plan.

The bill, which passed the Senate by a 39-9 vote Monday night, calls for the Aug. 1 tax hike, followed by 4.9 cents more on July 1 next year. There would also be higher weight fees for car-tab renewals on passenger vehicles.

Most of the money would go to widen or expand highways, with smaller shares for local roads, ferries, maintenance, safety, transit and trails.

John Stang’s Crosscut article includes a statement from legislative leaders involved in the transportation negotiations. 

“These new investments will grow our economy and create jobs: as many as 100,000 over 16 years. It will help unclog congested roadways and provide transportation choices. It will allow communities to make transportation decisions locally. And it will institute reforms to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.”

Opportunity Washington has made passage of a comprehensive transportation package a top priority. House approval of the measure the legislation will mark the successful culmination of an arduous three-year effort.