After Senate Republicans unveiled a new transportation proposal, Senate Democrats remain less than impressed. (TRT: 2:18) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Debate and negotiations surrounding a transportation package has been the topic of conversation for over a year in the Washington State Legislature. Today, Senate Republicans unveiled a proposal that failed to impress Senate Democrats. Sen. Tracey Eide, co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee has been working for months to try and come to an agreement on a 12-year, multi-billion dollar transportation package.
Sen Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way: (TRT:17 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We want a package in good faith. You tell me where, you tell me when and I’ll be there. This is not in good faith, but I am willing to continue to negotiate because I believe how important it is to keep Washington state moving.”
The proposal would make a couple of philosophical fund shifts which would revert sales tax away from the general fund and take dollars earmarked for environmental clean-up to fund storm water projects. Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens has concerns about not enough funding for urban areas.
Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: (TRT: 25): CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “A transportation package is about all of Washington State. It’s about every single district. This package should be more than just roads. It has to be about buses. It has to be about bike/ped, it has to be about complete streets. Time and time again we have told the MCC that we wanted multi-modal to be addressed and time and time again they have failed to do this.”
Multi-modal funding would include investments in transit, bike and pedestrian access, Safe Routes to School, complete streets, special needs transit, and Alaskan Way Viaduct transit mitigation. All of these investments are critical to drumming up support in our urban centers. The $12.4 billion Republican proposal would require an 11.5 cent gas tax; however, it needs full bipartisan support from the Legislature. Sen. Marko Liias of Mukilteo sums up the reality of the new Republican proposal.
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo: (TRT: 20 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “We’re at day 32 – there is no bill. We have a set of talking points, a set of bullets today that were released, but there is no bill. There is no forward momentum on this and I don’t think we can blame the governor, I don’t think we can blame the House for the lack of the Senate moving a proposal forward. It really is a partisan plan for one half of Washington, not a bipartisan vision for the whole state.”
Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.