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House Dems push gas, car tab tax to pay $10 billion transportation plan

House democrats are proposing both a gas tax and car tab tax to help fund a proposed $10 billion transportation plan.(WSDOT image)

A transportation funding plan from Washington House democrats proposes almost $10 billion in projects statewide, but they’re offering some controversial revenue sources to pay for it.

The centerpiece of the funding plan is a 10 cent increase in the gasoline tax that would be phased in. Transportation Committee chair Judy Clibborn thinks motorists can handle that.

“We’re going to go 2 cents a year and we’re going to raise it up and they will probably not notice it with all the fluctuations [in gas prices].” She says the gas tax is one of the few transportation funding options available.

“We don’t have other choices, we don’t have vehicle miles traveled, we don’t have other choices,” she said.

The funding plan would help reduce a backlog of maintenance that’s part of an estimated $50 billion in state transportation needs. In addition to $1 billion for both the state and local governments to maintain infrastructure, the package would allocate about $3 billion to help fund new and existing road projects.

“If we continue to fund at the current maintenance and preservation levels, up to 50 percent of our state roads would be in poor or very poor condition in ten years,” said Steve Mullen of Washington Roundtable.

Clibborn’s plan also calls for $3 billion in new bonds, a new annual car tab fee, pegged at 0.7 percent of the vehicle’s value and a $25 fee added to new bicycle sales.

If all the projects included in the package are fully funded, House Democrats estimate the proposal would create 56,000 jobs.

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