AASHTO Journal, 19 December 2014
Figure by Washington Department ot Transportation
Gov. Jay Inslee proposed raising $4.8 billion through a new carbon fee that would provide the largest piece of financing in a 12-year, $12.2 billion transportation investment plan.
Inslee’s announcement said the carbon fee would apply to “industrial polluters” that would pay a charge for each ton of carbon they emit. In particular, it would fall on “sources of major transportation-related pollution, such as the oil and gas industry.”
His plan, as outlined in a 12-page brochure, would put $5.9 billion into new capital projects, while $2.6 billion would go into maintenance and operation of existing systems and $2.1 billion would go into “clean transportation and multimodal” areas.
The Associated Press quoted Republican state Sen. Curtis King, who will chair the Transportation Committee in January, criticizing Inslee’s plan. “At least we know where he wants to go, but I don’t believe he has enough money to go around the state,” King said. On the carbon fee, the senator said “he wants to call it a charge, but I would call it a tax.”
Besides that carbon fee, Inslee would fund the plan through new $3.1 billion in bonds and $4 billion in other types of fee income.
“This is a plan that will keep us safe on the roads, reduce traffic, create jobs and help clean our air and water,” said Inslee. He also said he is open to hearing other plans lawmakers may have for a comprehensive transportation package, but said “we simply need to get it done.”
He warned that without new investment in the state’s transportation system Washington faces a 52 percent decrease in the maintenance budget, and 71 additional bridges will become structurally deficient.