With a bipartisan 78-19 vote, the House of Representatives passed a no new taxes transportation budget that continues the work already in progress on projects across the state.
“This budget is about keeping the promises that we made to voters when they approved the last two gas tax increases,” said House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island). “Almost 90 percent of projects are now complete, and this budget moves us forward by continuing work on the few that remain.”
The $7.7 billion budget is about $700 million less than last biennium’s $8.4 billion, largely due to less infrastructure being built. Although less revenue is being brought in, fewer ongoing projects allows for a bit of additional spending in new areas.
“There are a handful of small, but meaningful, new investments in our transportation system,” noted Transportation Vice-Chair Jake Fey (D-Tacoma). “Bridge maintenance and preservation, compensation for Washington State Patrol and transportation agencies, seed money for electric vehicle infrastructure – these are things we can be proud of in this budget.”
While the maintenance-level budget allows for these modest enhancements, it contains no new funding for major transportation infrastructure or transit – underscoring the critical need for new transportation revenue.
“This is a responsible budget for the resources we have, but a modern transportation system that grows our economy, fights traffic, and works for all users will require new revenue. The status quo isn’t working for Washington commuters or businesses,” Clibborn added.
The budget bill, HB 1299, now heads to the Senate for consideration.