Senate proposal needlessly starving transportation infrastructure

Democratic leaders on the Senate Transportation Committee unveiled their funding proposal this week to deal with what they’re calling the “I-976 crisis” and to restart delayed transportation projects. I offered the following statement to the press.

“I supported this supplemental budget, but it’s really just a band-aid. It is needlessly starving our state’s transportation infrastructure and fails to address long-term solutions that we need to act on now. That is being exacerbated by the ill-advised pausing of critical projects by Governor Inslee which has cost taxpayers untold millions of dollars. The overwhelming majority of those projects are funded by the gas tax and have nothing to do with this so-called ‘I-976 crisis.’ It’s simply political retribution against voters wanting to keep more of their tax dollars.

“Since joining the Senate, I’ve been fighting for a solution that actually addresses the underlying problems with funding transportation in our state. The Legislature is taxing working people and families to death with usage-related policies when the problem is inflation. If we simply used the existing sales tax on motor vehicles, we could fund all our transportation needs and then some with money people already send to Olympia.

“Taxpayers don’t distinguish between general fund and transportation accounts; they just expect results from what the state is taking out of their wallets. It’s our responsibility to use those dollars wisely.

“The Legislature should act now to give voters what they want – $30 car tabs. We can do that without a significant hit to our transportation funding like the somewhat flawed initiative does with all the other things in it.”