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Published on Friday, January 11, 2013

Will this be the year for a state-wide transportation funding package?

As we enter the 2013 legislative session, it’s clear a variety of groups and interests (including cities) will be pushing for new transportation funding. Governor Inslee and a few key legislators have publicly acknowledged this need as well, but given the difficult budget and economic climate, passage of any significant package is far from certain.

A variety of proposals, some more specific than others, have been made public (links below). The one thing they all have in common is that they acknowledge tremendous need for new revenue.

As we have reported previously, AWC is going into the session with the following as one of our major priorities: “Collaborate with the state to increase multi-modal transportation funding and expand sustainable revenue options.” More specifically: “The range of sources that we are discussing includes:

  • An increase in the gas tax, 65 percent of which would go to the state with cities and counties receiving 18 and 12 percent respectively;
  • An increase in Transportation Benefit District councilmanic authority for vehicle fees from $20 to $40;
  • Some level of county Motor Vehicle Excise Tax authority, shared with cities, that could be passed either councilmanically or by public vote.”

We have also been reporting on a group of mayors originally convened by Mayor McGinn of Seattle and Mayor Priest of Federal Way. As of this writing, there is an effort to gather signatures from mayors across the state on a letter outlining a revenue proposal that is very similar to the AWC-adopted position above. AWC will continue to provide support to the Mayors Group as requested and to help promote and facilitate consistency among the emerging positions.

If a transportation revenue proposal is to successfully make its way to the Governor’s desk, it will require support from a variety of interests. Getting to that point won’t be easy. And in all likelihood, any package that contains significant new revenues will also need to go to the voters for their approval. Right now, as we approach the starting line, there’s momentum, but there’s a long way to go.

Transportation funding and investment proposals:

Washington State Transportation Commission

Washington Roundtable

Washington State Transit Association

Transportation Choices Coalition

Categories: Transportation