Gregoire calls for $1.50 per oil barrel charge for roads

Jan 10, 2012
Originally published on January 10, 2012 3:25 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is calling for a new barrel tax on oil to fund transportation projects. The Democrat used her state of the state address Tuesday to ask lawmakers to approve the $1.50 per barrel charge.

Last month, a governor's task force on transportation recommended the state invest $20 billion over the next decade to preserve existing roads, build new ones and plug holes in the sinking ferry system.

Instead, Gregoire is proposing a much smaller bite of the apple: a $3.6 billion, 10-year package. She says it could create more than 5,000 construction related jobs a year.

"I will ask you to pass a modest $1.50 fee on every barrel of oil produced in Washington," Gregoire says. "Our oil companies are getting all the profit and leaving us with the bill. We can do better."

The Democratic chairs of the House and Senate transportation committees immediately endorsed the governor's proposal.

Gregoire considers the barrel charge a fee that would require a simple majority vote of the legislature. But minority Republicans call it a tax and say it would require a two-thirds vote to enact.

On the Web:

Gov. Gregoire statement on $1.50 fee::

2012 State of the State Address:

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