New Washington Research Council Report Examines Senate Transportation Plans

Hours before the House Transportation Committee hearing on the Senate’s transportation bills, the Washington Research Council has released its analysis of the Senate legislation.

The Senate’s opening bid in the transportation budget process includes a budget bill (ESSB 5988), a revenue bill (ESSB 5987), and eight policy reform bills. The package would increase the state gas tax by 11.7 cents over three years and would deliver $13.8 billion in new transportation spending through 2031. This would be the state’s first major transportation investment program since 2005.

Today’s House hearing will be on the the budget and revenue bills. Opportunity Washington strongly endorses passage of both. As the WRC concludes, the Senate legislation funds essential maintenance and preservation. In addition, 

…the package would fund many infrastructure projects that will help get goods to market and people to work. The economic costs of poor road conditions accrue broadly to Washington’s residents, businesses, and government. Reducing congestion, improving freight capacity, and enabling new growth would help make the state more competitive and make Washington a better place to live. The investment is past due.

It’s time to act. 


More editorial support for Senate transportation package

Two recent editorials encourage lawmakers to keep working on comprehensive transportation legislation, using the Senate package as a model.

From the Seattle Times:

THE state Senate, after two years of frustrated effort, has passed a $15 billion transportation package. Its 11 measures — a mix of reforms and revenue — are key to relieving traffic congestion with investments in transit and roads and maintaining the state’s existing highways and bridges.

A bipartisan group of senators exercised some imagination to negotiate and shepherd this compromise, which includes an 11.7-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, through their chamber. The deal could create an estimated 200,000 jobs over the next 16 years.

State House leaders must keep the momentum going.

And from the Wenatchee World:

It was a bipartisan effort, and an accomplishment in and of itself. The state Senate Tuesday approved a $15 billion transportation package, a series of administrative reforms, and a phased 11.7-cent increase in the gas tax. It was a difficult, but large step forward toward the ultimate goal of making an adequate investment in the state’s infrastructure, essential to our economic well-being.

The truths are evident. The state requires a functioning and modestly efficient transportation system to move its goods and people, the fuel for economic growth.

Exactly right.