Inslee pitches plan to fund transportation projects in Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday, Tuesday, announced a proposal to address the state’s transportation needs.

His plan includes fixing ailing bridges, patching crumbling roads, cleaning the air and water, and completing major regional projects on time and within budget.

Among the priorities in Inslee’s plan is finishing work on I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, as well as offering incentives for alternate fuels and electric vehicles.

The $5.9 billion plan to be submitted to the 2015 Legislature is expected to create 50,000 jobs across the state over a period of 12 years, says Inslee.

It will be financed through bonding, fees and a proposed carbon charge on industrial polluters. It would not require an increase in the state gas tax. Inslee said the $12 billion investment embraces efficiency and accountability “that will deliver results that the public can trust.”

Inslee made the announcement at the new transit center atop the 520 floating bridge.

He said proposed financing for the plan is a major shift in transportation funding.

Rather than raise the gas tax on all motorists, the plan would be funded largely through fees and bonding as well as on a new carbon pollution charge.

Under Inslee’s plan, sources of major transportation-related pollution, such as the oil and gas industries, will pay a charge for every ton of carbon they emit into the air.

The revenue raised through the carbon pollution charge, about $4.8 billion over 12 years, would be the equivalent of the amount of revenue generated by a 12-cent gas tax increase.

“This is a plan that will keep us safe on the roads, reduce traffic, create jobs and help clean our air and water,” said Inslee.

He stressed that he is open to hearing what other plans lawmakers may have for how best to make progress on a comprehensive transportation package, but said it is unfinished business in Olympia.

“We simply need to get it done,” Inslee said. “Our goal cannot be to get all of what we each might want, but instead to get what the state needs.”


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