Wednesday, February 8, 2012

House Transportation leaders advance focused revenue package!

Exciting news!
Yesterday, House transportation leaders addressed urgent state and local needs while creating, or sustaining, thousands of jobs all over Washington by advancing a great revenue package!
“Low interest rates and very low bids from businesses competing for construction contracts make this an ideal time to take care of some of our most pressing needs in transportation,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), who chairs the House Transportation Committee.
The centerpiece of this package, which passed out of committee yesterday, is HB 2660 which is expected to generate about $1.35 billion over the next ten years by adding a $1.50 fee on barrels of refined oil in our state. Revenue from the oil-barrel fee would be split 50-50 between the state and local governments. This new plan exempts oil that is exported to other states or used for non-highway purposes, such as aviation and marine fuels.
“Just by itself, the oil fee we’re proposing would support around 1,100 jobs annually,” said Marko Liias (D-Edmonds), a vice chair of the committee.  “These are good-paying, private-sector jobs for construction workers, who’ve been hit harder than anyone else by the economic downturn.”
In addition to the revenue measures, the committee passed a proposal (HB 2704) by Rep. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) to create a task force for exploring new approaches to funding transportation as the state becomes less reliant on fossil fuel.
“Today we passed a focused revenue package for urgent needs,” said Billig, also a vice chair of the committee.  “It doesn’t try to replace the nearly $5 billion of gas-tax revenues that we’re expecting to lose over the next dozen or so years due to increased fuel efficiency and other factors. But it will put people to work right away on state and local needs that just can’t wait.”