Democrats In WA Legislature Seal Deal For Big New Transportation Package
Democrats who control the Washington Legislature have sealed a deal to raise and spend nearly $17 billion over the next 16 years on transportation projects. This steers money into everything from highway widening, transit and new ferries, to high speed rail and bike trails.
Democratic Washington legislators variously called the big new transportation infrastructure package “landmark” and “transformative.” Without Republican input, they stitched together new money coming from the feds, new fees on industry for climate pollution, higher fees for vehicle and driver licensing, and grabbed some of the surplus in the state’s general treasury. Prime author Sen. Marco Liias says it’s also noteworthy what’s not on the list.
“I made a promise to my constituents that we weren’t going to raise gas taxes in this difficult moment,” Liias said.
The biggest single highway project on the spending list is one billion dollars for Washington’s share of a replacement Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River into Portland. The package also allows youth under 18 to ride buses, trains and ferries fare free statewide.
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