Having a 21st century transportation system benefits everyone in Washington. I know it, and the people of Washington know it. I’ve heard repeatedly from moms, dads, workers, students, senior citizens and business owners who rely on our transportation system and want the legislature to pass a revenue package that keeps our communities connected and our businesses flourishing. I want the same thing.
Five months ago the House passed a $10 billion transportation revenue package, funded mainly through a 10.5 cent increase in the gas tax. Last week, the Senate Majority Caucus Coalition released a $12.3 billion package, with an 11.5 cent gas tax. Having both plans on the table gives us a strong continuing point for negotiations. It signals that both Republicans and Democrats want an effective transportation system for our state. This is really good news.
Both revenue packages fund transportation projects across the state, ensuring our roads and bridges remain strong. Both packages contain local transit funding authority for much needed bus routes. And both packages make clear efforts to fund the replacement of the 520 bridge.
There are differences between the two plans to be sure. But now we have a stronger basis for negotiations. I am hopeful that both sides can reach an agreement to move Washington forward. The health of our communities and our economic future depend on it. Clearly, we still have much work to do. But, the point is, we’re getting there.
Transportation has always been a bipartisan issue. Businesses rely on our roads to move goods efficiently; the elderly rely on transit to get to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments; students and parents rely on accessible bike paths and safe sidewalks.
Don’t let us lose our focus, keep the pressure on your Representatives and Senators.
There’s hope on the horizon. Keep a happy thought!