During the last two legislative sessions, Senator Hobbs proposed a $17 billion statewide transportation revenue package. Sen. Hobbs has indicated support for continuing the conversation in future sessions. Rep. Fey, Chair of the House Transportation Committee has signaled that he will propose a transportation revenue package next session also.
I was asked: Given the state of Washington’s transportation infrastructure, including the fish culvert obligations and the shortfalls created by I-976, how do you feel about a new revenue proposal? Would you support any new funding for transportation projects? Do you think the COVID-19 impacts will change this conversation and how?
As I testified as Senator Hobb’s Hearing as shown on my web site at www.bishopforhouse.com, I support increased gas tax funding for highways to include road construction for congestion relief in the Puget Sound Region and other hot spots in the state plus significant funding to catch up on the WSDOT identified Preservation and Maintenance (P & M) needs on the highway system of the state.
The $17 billion proposal is way too small. This will take a significant gas tax increase and a re-generation of the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) concept. Eastern Washington cannot afford the level of funding needed in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties (or Clark County, Spokane County or the Tri-Cities areas). The whole state needs the P & M funding. I support a gas tax increase immediately and a phased in escalation of the gas tax to enhance and repair our highway system. I oppose a per mile fee because the funds can be diverted elsewhere and the collection mechanism is expensive. Not to mention the privacy issues.
I believe the fish culvert issue is a state environmental issue and non-gas tax funding should be found or raised for the culvert replacement.
The COVID-19 impacts will be short lived and mostly related to peak period commute trip travel. When a vaccine is available and ‘herd immunity’ is achieved office buildings and other job locations will open and traffic congestion experienced pre-pandemic will return. We already see it on I-405 southbound at I-90 backing up to Downtown Bellevue and other chokepoints in the region. Transit ridership is significantly reduced and may not return.
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