Friends and Neighbors,
You may have heard or read about a transportation plan in the state Senate that includes an 11.7 cent per-gallon gas tax increase, as well as increases in vehicle fees.
The plan was just unveiled yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and I have already begun to review it. The concerns I've always had about a gas tax hike remain: 1) The negative effect on people in Southwest Washington, particularly those who must drive long distances and are less financially secure; 2) Can we be sure the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will spend the new tax money efficiently and effectively?
As the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, I will be looking at the plan closely. It still has to go through hearings and a full vote on the floor in the Senate before it comes to the House Transportation Committee. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know what you think about a possible gas tax increase, as well as your thoughts on transportation in general.
This week two of the bills that I've sponsored had public hearings:
- HB 1737 would help alleviate the shortage of substitute teachers that currently exists.
- HB 1738 is designed to assure that fuels used for marine and off-road vehicles is transferred to off-road vehicle accounts to fund off-road vehicle trails and the like.
Three of my other bills will have public hearings next week:
- HB 2014 would apply the prevailing wage standard on road projects only to people who are directly employed on site where the work is taking place. Washington's prevailing wage law requires that wages paid to laborers, workers, and mechanics “upon all public works” must be not less than the prevailing rate of wage in the same trade or occupation in the locality within the state where the labor is performed. It contributes to the high cost of transportation projects in this state. This is a narrowly focused bill that would help cut down on costs to taxpayers.
- HB 1736, which you may remember me discussing last year, would extend aerospace tax incentives to manufacturers of other types of commercial aircraft. This could potentially help Southwest Washington, as there is a helicopter company considering locating here and creating many good-paying jobs.
- HB 2012 requires WSDOT to use practical design standards for transportation projects. Where WSDOT is using practical design now, we are seeing significant savings.
If you need any assistance, please contact my office — all my contact information is below. It is an honor to serve you.