Inslee’s Optimism May Not Be Enough For Gas Tax Package

Jan 13, 2014

Gov.  Jay Inslee says he will continue to push for a gas tax package in the 60-day session that starts Monday. But a key transportation leader in the State Senate signaled last Thursday that prospects for a deal may be dimming.

Nearly a decade has passed since the last gas tax increase passed in Washington. Now leaders on both sides of the aisle agree another multi-billion dollar roads and transit package is needed.

But the details are the topic of heated debate in the state Capitol. A dozen negotiating sessions this fall ended with promises to resume talks this month.

Sen. Curtis King, who co-chairs the Senate Transportation Committee said the work will continue, but “it’s like everything else.”

“It’s a matter of timing, and there are a lot of things that would impact the ability to get a package out this session,” said King, R-Yakima.

Among things to consider is the fact this is an election year. There are also concerns about voter trust given ongoing problems with two Seattle-area mega projects: cost overruns on the 520 bridge replacement and a blockage that’s stopped progress on the tunnel along Seattle’s waterfront.

For his part, the governor says he still has reasons to remain “hopeful.”