Washington state legislators reported June 28 that a deal has been reached to raise more than $15 billion for transportation infrastructure projects, funded in part by an incremental 11.9 cents-per-gallon state gas tax increase.
While details of the compromise were not disclosed, lawmakers said the package had similar elements to proposals submitted in the beginning of the year.
The deal was reached just in time for legislators to return to the state capitol for the third special session of 2015. The compromise will enable lawmakers to move forward on the two-year state budget, which must be passed by July 1 in order to avoid a partial state government shutdown. The legislature is expected to begin voting on the transportation funding package late June 29, and to approve the bill by June 30.
Governor Jay Inslee (D) issued a news release June 28 declaring his intent to sign the deal into law, even if the final bill lacks a low-carbon fuel standard provision—one of the major points of contention regarding the transportation funding package—“because of the jobs, safety improvements and traffic relief that the investments would provide.” He urged legislators to “finish the job and pass this package by Tuesday so I can sign it as soon as possible.”