Washington Gas Tax Increase Proposal Faces Bumpy Road

By Austin Jenkins

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A proposal to raise Washington’s gas tax by ten cents faces a bumpy road in Olympia. House Democrats rolled out the idea Wednesday as part of a $10B transportation funding package. But it faced immediate opposition.

Washington House Transportation chair Judy Clibborn. Photo: Austin Jenkins

The plan comes from House Transportation Chair Judy Clibborn. It would increase Washington’s gas tax two-cents-per-gallon a year for five years. House Republicans quickly pointed out that when fully implemented, the state’s fuel excise tax would be 47.5 cents per gallon – higher than any other state today. But Clibborn says Washington’s transportation system is in desperate need of an upgrade.

Judy Clibborn: “I think we all agree it’s time to stop kicking the can down a crumbling road and get ready to fix it.”

Clibborn’s plan also imposes a Motor Vehicle Excise tax, an increase in the state’s Hazardous Substance tax and a hike in commercial vehicle weight fees. Even bicycle riders would pay up with a $25 fee on bikes over $500. The bulk of the money – nearly $4B – would pay for major projects like the new I-5 Columbia River Crossing. Another $2B would go to maintaining existing roads and bridges. The Washington legislature last approved a nine cent gas tax increase eight years ago.

On the web:

Transportation Package: http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/judy-clibborn/rep-clibborn-supporters-unveil-transportation-package/

Gas Tax Rankings: http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-gasoline-tax-rates-january-1-2012

Photo: Washington House Transportation chair Judy Clibborn, with business and labor representatives behind her, announces a proposed $10B transportation package

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