House gives green light to $6 billion highway
By DAVID AMMONS The Associated Press
3/1/02 8:25 PM
OLYMPIA (AP) -- A $6 billion transportation tax referendum, anchored by an
8-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike and a new surtax on car purchases, cleared
the state House on Friday on a largely party-line vote.
The proposal envisions the largest highway construction boom in state
history, but would get projects off the drawing boards only if the voters
approve the financing plan at a special election in May or June.
Senate Democrats plan to counter-punch with an even pricier plan on
Saturday. It's an $8.2 billion proposal that includes a 9-cent gas tax
hike, coupled with higher trucking fees, a 3-cent diesel surcharge and a 1
percent surtax on car sales.
Key senators want the decision made in Olympia, rather than submitted for a
The House vote was 54-44. Democrats praised it as a sensible, affordable
way to begin fixing traffic congestion. Republicans generally opposed it.
They said it won't fly with the voters because the taxes are too high and
because voters don't believe the Legislature has done enough to reform how
the state spends highway dollars.
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