Leaders call for 8-cent gas tax hike to fund ailing roads
January 1, 2013
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2013
King County leaders asked state legislators for a gas tax increase and for the ability for counties to collect a vehicle tab fee for road maintenance.
In a letter to lawmakers last month, Eastside elected leaders joined King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn asked legislators to raise the gas tax by 8 cents to fund ailing roads.
The proposal offered from Constantine, McGinn and the Sound Cities Association calls for 65 percent of gas tax revenue to go to the state and 35 percent to go to local transportation projects.
(Issaquah a member city in the Sound Cities Association, a regional advocacy group once called the Suburban Cities Association.)
Officials also asked for legislators to allow counties to collect up to a $40 vehicle tab fee to fund transportation projects and for a countywide vehicle tax for up to $150 per $10,000 of vehicle value.
“King County and its cities have reached consensus on a set of tools that will allow us to address transportation needs at the local level,” leaders wrote in the letter.
King County leaders listed transportation — and, particularly, a way to raise funds for cash-strapped roads — as a top priority during the upcoming session.
“We strive daily to maintain aging streets, bridges and drainage systems, under tightly constrained budgets,” leaders wrote. “At the same time, residents are asking us to improve transit services, safety, mobility and choices within our transportation system while diminishing the adverse impacts of the system on our environment and human health.”
Issaquah is also focused on transportation dollars, specifically a transportation improvement district for North Issaquah near Costco headquarters and high-traffic retail centers.
State Sen. Mark Mullet, a Democrat and outgoing Issaquah City Council member, said outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire included $5 million for the project in the proposed 2013-15 state budget.
The money is meant for the city to help purchase environmentally sensitive areas, design and construct pedestrian and bicycle trails, and enact other improvements.
However, Gov.-elect Jay Inslee is also at work on a budget proposal to send to the Legislature, and could change or remove the suggested dollars for Issaquah.