Gas tax package falls short in state House

Jun 26, 2013

A proposal to raise Washington’s gas tax by 10.5 cents to fund transportation projects has failed in the state House. Supporters on Wednesday came up one vote short. But they vow to try again.

The transportation revenue package would raise $10 billion for maintenance and preservation of existing roads and to fund new projects. The proposal calls for a 6 cent gas tax increase this summer followed by another 4.5 cent increase next July. On the House floor, Republican Ed Orcutt blasted the proposal as an unaffordable tax hike.

“It’s going to come in August when our gas taxes are normally high and that’s going to hit hard a lot of people,” Orcutt said.

The gas tax package has the support of a broad coalition of business, labor and environmental groups. Democrat Marko Liias says the failed vote will serve a purpose.

“We now know who’s opposed, so we now know who we need to be talking to, to get to 50, and we only need one,” Liias said.

The gas tax package is also a top priority of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. Several of his senior staff watched the failed vote from the House wings.