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

By Austin Jenkins

Washington Governor 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 Thursday that prospects for a deal may be dimming.

It’s been nearly a decade 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. Senate transportation co-chair Curtis King, a Republican, says the work will continue but:

Curtis King: “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.”

Including 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, Governor Inslee says he still has reasons to remain “hopeful.”

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